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CCPS already under allowed amount of mandated testing, state information shows

As calls for less testing continue to be at the forefront of parents' and educators' minds, recently released data from the state shows Carroll schools are under the required limit for combined state and local assessment time.

The law, which took effect this month, limits mandated testing to 2.2 percent of classroom time per year, or about 24 hours in elementary and middle school and 26 hours in high school, The Baltimore Sun reported. For eighth grade, in which students are subjected to more tests, the cap is set at 2.3 percent.

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The highest percentage of time Carroll County Public Schools see is in fifth grade, where 2.1 percent of classroom time a year is used for mandated state or local testing. The next highest is eighth grade, at 1.9 percent, according to the state data.

But despite being under the testing cap, concerns over the amount of testing remain.

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Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, said he's been trying to roll back testing whenever possible. And while he said he's glad Carroll County's numbers are below the required amount, there's still work to do.

"I still believe there's entirely too much testing going on," he said.

Shoemaker said he thinks lawmakers and officials need to continue to try to find ways to cut back on testing. At the state level, he said, they need to work to have the State Board of Education roll back some of the testing either through conversations or through legislation. They need to continue "whittling away at it," Shoemaker added.

Personally, he said, he's been trying to take a stab at the standardized testing during each legislative session.

"Teachers ought to be able to teach the three R's as opposed to teaching to the test," Shoemaker said.

Del. April Rose, R-District 5, echoed those thoughts and said she'd rather testing, if done, be at the local level.

"Local decisions and local control, I'm always going to be far more in favor of," she said.

Teachers, admin use local assessments to prepare for PARCC, drive curriculum.

That desire for local control, and less state-mandated testing, is something Rose said she hears from teachers. State-mandated assessments take up too much time, she said.

Time should be spent teaching the kids and trying to get them outside once in awhile, Rose added.

"It's too much. The teachers don't like it; the parents don't like it; the kids don't like it," she said.

Rose said a continued look at reducing testing is something that's on her radar for the next legislative session.

And while the most recent testing law doesn't mandate Carroll County to reduce its testing because it's already under the limit, Greg Bricca, director of research and accountability for the school system, said the law is helping CCPS keep testing on its mind.

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Parents, educators, legislators and students all seem to agree — albeit sometimes for different reasons — that there is far too much time spent on taking tests

CCPS has been really conscious over the last few years when it looks at whether a test needs to be added.

"There are still things [in the law] that will keep us focused on the goal of limiting the testing," Bricca said.

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Testing time

Percentage of instructional time spent on state- and locally mandated assessments in Carroll County schools:

PreK: 0.4 percent

Kindergarten: 0.8 percent

First: 0.8 percent

Second: 1.6 percent

Third: 1.8 percent

Fourth: 1.8 percent

Fifth: 2.1 percent

Sixth: 1.3 percent

Seventh: 1.3 percent

Eighth: 1.9 percent

Ninth: 1 percent

Tenth: 0.4 percent

Eleventh: 1 percent

Twelfth: 0 percent

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