Surprise! Teacher union poll says too much emphasis on testing

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BATON ROUGE, LA – The Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) recently polled a random sample of Louisianians to gain a better understanding of their feelings on student testing. The association released the results of this survey Sept. 19, offering three conclusions:

1) the public thinks the state places too much emphasis on standardized testing practices;

2.) Louisianians doesn’t agree with linking students’ high-stakes test scores to teachers’ performance reviews;

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3.) parents’ expectations for their children’s educational experiences do not align with Louisiana’s testing policies.

LAE President Debbie Meaux said these findings prove that today’s hyper-focus on student testing is cause for concern. “We need to focus on what helps students. Kids don’t get excited to go to school to fill in bubbles on a sheet. They get excited when they have opportunities to immerse themselves in the concepts being taught,” Meaux said. “Of all the things we teach our kids, the most important is a love of learning, which no standardized test can measure.” In August 2017, the LAE conducted a two-week survey of the general public in Louisiana. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed feel the state places too much emphasis on student testing. More than half, 55 percent, agreed that student test performance should not play a major role in determining a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom.

Results from another poll administered at the national level – the 2017 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools[2] – show similar results. Feedback from the U.S. public shows that developing students’ interpersonal skills, enhancing technology instruction, and expanding access to extracurricular activities are much more important indicators of school quality than high-stakes assessments. Public opinion shows that there is minimal support for standardized testing, which contrasts greatly with what many enacted testing policies require for K-12 public schools. Additionally, educators had a chance to weigh in on the testing issue through a poll conducted by the National Education Association[3] in 2014.

The NEA surveyed its teacher-members from across the nation, and more than half, 52 percent, said they felt they spent too much time preparing for tests; 45 percent said they considered changing careers due to the pressure brought on by standardized testing.