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President thinks kids spend too much school time on big tests

Eleventh-grade students at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School in Los Angeles, California, take a practice test in February 2015 for the new state standardized tests. Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times/TNS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Students spend much time taking tests. Just how many hours do they spend?

A. Between 10 and 15 hours.

B. Between 20 and 25 hours.

C. Between 30 and 35 hours.

If you chose "B," you are right. A new study looked at how much time students take tests. It found that eighth-graders spend between 20 and 25 hours a year taking tests.

Between preschool and 12th grade, students take 112 exams. The government and states make students take some of the tests. School districts require others.

Tests Mostly At End Of School Year

The study counted only big tests. They are mostly taken at the end of the school year. It did not include quizzes or smaller tests.

The Council of the Great City Schools did the study. The council is a group of the biggest city school systems in the United States. The study looked at the number of tests in 66 large districts. More than 7 million students go to schools in these districts.

President Barack Obama spoke about the study. Students spend too much time on testing, he said. He thinks schools should limit testing. Students should spend a little less time taking tests.

Obama made a video, too. There are other more important things than getting the right answer, he said. Learning is more important. People should not worry so much about testing, he said. Obama's video was posted on Facebook.

Tests Make Sure Students Are Learning

The government still says yearly tests are important. The tests make sure that schools are doing good work. They also make sure that students are learning.

People wonder how much testing is too much. It is a hard question to answer, said Michael Casserly. He is the head of the council, which did the study.

The government's Education Department said kids take many tests. Some of them are not important. The department came up with a plan. It will work with states and schools. The goal will be to limit time spent on testing.

The council also discovered several important facts. Students in 8th and 10th grades took the most tests. Preschoolers, kindergartners and first-graders took the fewest tests.

Many schools had to wait a long time to get test results. Sometimes it took four months. By that time, the next school year already started. Teachers did not know in time if a student had a problem.

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Anchor 4: Word Meaning & Choice

Read this sentence from the section "Tests Mostly At End Of School Year."

He thinks schools should limit testing.

Which of these words or phrases means the SAME as "limit" in the sentence above?


add to


have fewer





Anchor 4: Word Meaning & Choice

Read these sentences from the section "Tests Make Sure Students Are Learning."

It is a hard question to answer, said Michael Casserly. He is the head of the council, which did the study.

Which answer choice BEST describes the role of the "head of the council"?


leads the meetings


does the study


writes the tests


teaches the students

Anchor 7: Multimedia

Look at the graph. In what grade does the average student spend the MOST time taking tests?


5th grade


8th grade


10th grade


12th grade

Anchor 7: Multimedia

Look at the graph "Average number of mandated tests given per year, by grade level."

In what grade level do students take the most tests per year?




5th grade


10th grade


12th grade


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