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State Places Too Much Emphasis on Student Testing, According to New Poll Released by the LAE

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 – 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, September 19, 2017, offering three conclusions: 1) the public thinks the state places too much emphasis on standardized testing practices; 2.) Louisianians don't agree with linking students’ high-stakes test scores to teachers’ performance reviews; 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%) 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 – 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 in 2014. The NEA surveyed its teacher-members from across the nation, and more than half (52%) 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.

The LAE values this feedback and is actively continuing the exploration of the public’s regard for standardized testing. Beginning in September 2017, association representatives will offer opportunities for parents, school employees, and other concerned citizens to voice their opinions on student testing practices through a series of Community Conversations across the state. With events scheduled in Baton Rouge (9/21), Alexandria (9/26), Shreveport (9/28), New Iberia (10/3), Monroe (10/5), Hammond (10/12), Lafayette (10/16), Lake Charles (10/17), and LaPlace (10/19), the public will have a platform to offer feedback to be shared with the state’s K-12 education policymakers. The association has also established a website –– so that the public may offer further feedback on the issue. Meaux said these actions contribute to the association’s effort to show the widespread concern surrounding excessive testing.

"Bubble tests only capture a moment in time of our students’ breadth of knowledge," she said. "Children thrive when innovation and discovery are incorporated into daily lessons. If we maximize the amount of time our teachers have to actively engage students, the possibilities for success will be endless."

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