Students in Maryland are one step closer to potentially shorter standardized tests and more projects.
Despite limited mental capacity, a feeding tube, a wheelchair and the inability to speak, a child with cerebral palsy must take the same standardized tests in Maryland as his classmates. But the Maryland State Education Association wants to give students with disabilities the chance to opt out of grade-level testing, depending on their needs, parents’ wishes and any testing accommodations allowed.
In Queen Anne’s County, second graders take 28 hours of locally mandated tests each year, the highest in any Maryland school system. In Montgomery County, they take just four hours of county required assessments but that number climbs to 23 to 26 hours by the time students are in high school. In Carroll County, high school seniors take 32 hours of required tests — not counting the statewide assessments — the highest amount in the state, along with Cecil County. In Howard County high schools, seniors take no locally mandated assessments. What do these numbers mean? A new commission on testing would like to figure that out.
When a state commission meets for the first time on Tuesday to open a probe on the use of standardized testing in Maryland public schools, the elephant in the room could well be the testing vendor itself. The company, Pearson, is viewed by some as a multi-pronged education conglomerate whose standardized testing component is either a bane of classroom existence or the future of student assessments, depending on whom you speak with.