As the school year winds down, testing is over and weather turns warmer, teachers often find themselves trying ways to keep students engaged in their content. I decided to have my ninth grade students choose a topic that they'd like to do something about and complete a project on that topic. My second period opted to write a newspaper article about standardized testing ("Maryland Testing Commission not expected to make major cuts to hours of testing," June 8). Here is what they found in their own words and through their own research on an issue that affects nearly all K-12 students.
"The cost of PARCC and High School Assessment in Maryland is $44 million. In Baltimore, the cost of PARCC and HSA is $4 million and the cost of I-Ready in Baltimore is $5 million. As you can see, all three of these tests cost a lot of money — money that could be put to better use. Instead of the city spending about $9 million each year for testing, we could try to take one or two of these tests away. We could put this money toward school renovations, better lunches and school supplies.
"We take these test at least twice a year. High school students take about nine standardized tests not including the quizzes and tests teachers give. Here is a breakdown of class periods and hours devoting to testing:
•Freshmen year: 19 periods, 29 hours
•Sophomore: 28 periods, 42 hours
•Junior: 22-34 periods, 33-51 hours
Senior: 16-24 periods, 24-36 hours
"At our school, Academy for College and Career Exploration, we go through lots of stress because the teachers have to rush and give the information to the students to help us better understand what's being taught and prepare for the test. Because of this we don't have enough time to learn what we really need.
"Some people feel that taking all of these tests puts too much pressure on students. So we interviewed 20 students at our school about the PARCC, HSA and I-Ready to get their opinions and discovered many had complaints and concerns.
"For example, when asked if the government gives too many tests, all the students surveyed responded yes. Most students said that they would eliminate one, although responses varied as to which. Students said they took 4-8 standardized tests during the year. When asked whether they found the tests necessary, most students said no, but a few said we should at least have one or two. Students complained that tests were horrible, annoying and too long.
Schools and government should take students into consideration and listen to them about these tests. This issue is also important because people spend so many tax dollars on tests with such a limited benefit. We should take away at least some of the tests so that students can spend that time learning without the pressure."
Hannah Stumpp, Baltimore
The writer is a 9th grade teacher at the Academy for College and Career Exploration High School.