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Testing Landscape

Students spend between six to eight hours in school per day, which amounts to approximately 1,080 to 1,440 hours per year. In that year, there are many opportunities for students to let their teachers and parents know what they have learned and for a school to let the community know about its progress.

Unfortunately our education system has lost sight of what it means to assess a student. According to a 2012 report from the Brookings Institute standardized-testing regimes are costing the states $1.7 billionmoney that would be better spent on proven strategies like high-quality early childhood education, after-school programs, good nutrition, health care, and community support services.

Testing madness has taken over teaching and learning.

  • More than a month of instructional time can be lost to test preparation and administration in a single year. (Source: Testing More, Teaching Less, American Federation of Teachers, 2013)
  • The sheer volume of tests that teachers are tasked with administering and preparing students for is enormously time-consuming. In a NEA 2014 survey, 52 percent of teachers surveyed said they spend too much time on testing and test prep. The average teacher now reports spending about 30 percent of their work time on testing-related tasks.
  • A 2013 PDK/Gallup poll of public attitudes toward public education; 68 percent opposed using student test results in teacher evaluations in the 2014 PDK/Gallup poll. The2015 PDK Gallup pollfound that 65 percent of parents believed high-stakes testing was being misused and only 14 percent said it was an important factor in gauging the effectiveness of a public school.

    State Legislation By State

The Education Commission of the States has compiled a comprehensive database of current & potential law on assessments in every state. Choose your state to learn more.

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Congress recently passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), ending the era of No Child Left Behind. Now it's up to all of us to make sure the new law is implemented to allow schools to focus on what matters most: inspiring students’ natural curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn. That will only happen if educators lead. Click here to join NEA's work implementing ESSA!


The History of Standardized Testing in the United States

From Pre-Civil War to NCLB, follow the timeline of student testing in American schools here.

Educators and Parents on Testing

"Everything revolves around the test. The pace is way too fast for my son. He hates school. He has test anxiety. I have become very resentful of third grade. It has changed my previously confident, happy kid into a nervous wreck with dwindling self esteem."

- Kelli K., a parent in Indiana


Email NEA's High Standards-Fair Testing team for more information about Time To Teach, Time to Learn resources or to share stories from your local organizing efforts.