Overtesting Overwhelms Students


Erin Bode, News Managing Editor

While final exams are not returning anytime soon, students still experience the stress of testing with new progress checks, as well as the PARCC and HSA evaluations. We are still being over tested and it is time for the county and state to fix this issue on the local level.
Students know that the end of a semester is one of the busiest times of the year, and progress checks will be taking place toward the end of each quarter, adding yet another test to prepare for.
With the added stress of these new tests that account for 10 percent of quarter grades, students still have to balance all of the extra work that is piled on at the end of the quarter and keep up with other activities outside of school.
Having progress checks at the end of the quarter can harm students and create some of the same stress students experienced with multiple final exams on the same day. Some students have had multiple RQAs for different subjects on one day.
“I believe I’ve had at least two RQAs on the same day,” junior Yuna Higgs said. “I feel I did poorly on them because I couldn’t focus on just one subject.”
The social studies and science departments chose to coordinate so their progress checks would not be at the same time this year. But even with this coordination, teachers said it is difficult to avoid scheduling multiple tests on the same day when everyone has their own schedule.
“With study time and things like that, it’s difficult to coordinate things with other departments,” social studies resource teacher Michelle Pettit said. “I know the IB program has a common calendar and so we all look on that for scheduling when a major assignment is done to try to make sure that we’ve spread it out.”
The “More Learning Less Testing Act,a�� was passed by the Maryland House of Delegates in 2017. The law requires that students only spend two percent of school time testing, assistant principal and state testing coordinator Monica Abuliak said.
Although students are exempt from certain tests if they take AP and IB classes, underclassmen taking AP classes still have to take the HSA and PARCC exams. Teachers and administration have to remember that IB and AP students also take non AP and IB classes and will be tested.
“It is definitely a struggle, especially, during the month of May where you have all of the tests coming together between the three weeks of IB testing and the three weeks of AP testing and then that’s primarily when we give all of the state required assessments for PARCC, MISA, and for HSA,” Abuliak said.
Even though there is currently a shared IB calendar, it is not used often and students end up having tests and major assignments for multiple IB classes all due on one day.
Although it is clear that it is difficult for teachers and administration to reduce the amount of testing, there are things they could do to lessen the burden students feel. Administration should create a shared calendar where teachers can enter tests and due dates and in order to avoid overwhelming students with multiple tests and assignments on the same day. They could also offer a staff training for the calendar so teachers will actually update it.
Officials on the state and local levels have said they want to reduce student stress from testing, so they should guide administration and teachers on practical ways to help students now the lack of a policy is placing even more stress on students.