Town hall talk targets standardized testing

The Maryland State Education Association co-sponsored a town hall meeting Wednesday on the topic of standardized testing that included students, parents and teachers.

WASHINGTON — Students nationwide are taking so many standardized tests these days, the Maryland State Education Association has launched an ad campaign calling for cutbacks.

On Wednesday night in Rockville, the group co-hosted one in a series of town hall meetings on the topic that included students, parents and teachers.

The trend even has the attention of President Barack Obama, who just proposed limiting the amount of classroom time spent on standardized tests to 2 percent.

“Even really smart children are worried about these tests and how they’re going to affect them later,” said Aryana Jones, a senior at Clarksburg High School. “I know when I was taking the first MSA, I think I took it in second grade, I was probably crying on the floor.”

“That’s just not how it should be.  We go to school to learn, not to take tests,” said Nicolas Ballon, a senior at Walter Johnson High School.

Another Clarksburg High senior, Angie Nseliema, said if standardized testing continues the way it’s going, the future looks bleak.

“Nobody’s going to be learning, we’re all just going to be memorizing.”

“We’re creating undue stress on our children.  I don’t think we really realize the message that we’re sending to our kids,” said Shebra Evans, a mother of two students in Silver Spring.

She said one of her daughters worries so much about tests, she gives the girl a pep talk beforehand: “This test is not an indication of how smart you are.”

“What do these tests tell us?  A lot of nothing,” said Robert Chiappone, a fourth-grade teacher at Poolesville Elementary School.

Betsy Perry, a special education teacher at Harmony Hills Elementary School, thinks profits are the real driver for many of these tests. She called it “disgusting” how much money standardized testing companies are making.

Another town hall meeting is being planned soon.

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