Burden of tests grows, worries governor, Vance superintendent

Aug. 01, 2013 @ 06:46 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory’s education spending has angered public school teachers far and wide.

But on one point he has made and reiterated in a statement Thursday, many superintendents are in agreement: Students in North Carolina’s public schools have too many tests.

“With this testing load we are in danger of turning our teachers into proctors,” McCrory said in a statement released by his office. “We need to slow down and regroup with all of these tests and let our teachers teach.”

McCrory was in Chapel Hill speaking Thursday, where protesters continued to hound him and criticize his shortchanges to education. He announced a proposal for teachers and schools to compete for $30 million in an Education Innovation Fund.

McCrory vowed to reduce the number of tests, a sentiment with which Ronald Gregory was in agreement.

“In our superintendents’ quarterly meeting last Thursday,” said the Vance County Schools superintendent, “that was a high topic — testing, testing, testing. I think it’s been calculated kids took 194 tests. When you look at 180 instructional days, but we’re testing, they’re getting more tests than days of instruction.”

Gregory said the “194” figure is for all grades, kindergarten through 12, for all assessments. He said about 30 were added this past year.

Asked to guesstimate how that compares to previous years, the veteran educator said the figure might not have added up to 30 a couple of decades ago.

“There’s too much testing going on,” Gregory said. “You assess, you assess, you get data, data, data. And how much data do you need to know Johnny is struggling in reading? Good tests can tell you, and you can put in response to intervention programs.

“I think we’re going too much testing in state of North Carolina and I think a lot of other superintendents feel that way, too.”

As does the governor, citing a lack of classroom instruction.

“With this testing load we are in danger of turning our teachers into proctors,” McCrory said. “We need to slow down and regroup with all of these tests and let our teachers teach.”

 

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.