Education

Are student exams 'developmentally cruel?' NC lawmakers look at reducing testing.

There's a new push by state lawmakers to reduce the amount of tests that North Carolina students are required to take each school year.

Since at least the 1990s, parents and teachers have frequently complained about how there's too much testing of students, leading to lots of talk but not as much action. Both the Senate and House voted this week to have State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson make recommendations to legislators by Jan. 15, 2019 on ways to reduce testing that's not required by state or federal law.

"There are numerous members in this chamber and across the hall who have tried for years to try to limit the amount of testing that is going on — unnecessary testing that is going on in our classrooms," Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Wake Forest Republican, said before Wednesday night's vote.

The Senate voted 47-0 for the bill on Wednesday. The House voted 93-12 for the bill on Thursday. It now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper.

The testing study was one of the items added Wednesday to House Bill 986. That bill also would require school districts to place in advanced math classes those students who score at the top level on state math tests. It also would require districts to report how they're teaching cursive handwriting and multiplication tables.

The new wording on testing taps into long-held complaints that testing puts too much pressure on students. But at the same time, tests are used to assess how students, teachers and schools are doing academically.

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