This morning, the Maryland House of Delegates unanimously (139-0) approved the Less Testing, More Learning Act (HB461), legislation that would limit all district, state, and federal mandated tests to 2% of the annual school year—or 21.6 hours in elementary and middle schools and 23.6 hours in high schools. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where it has 31 co-sponsors, a supermajority of the chamber.
Last school year, students in 14 Maryland school districts took 30 hours or more of standardized testing. The average Maryland student takes more than 200 standardized tests during their time in school, taking away 250 hours from instruction. This legislation would significantly reduce this over-testing by eliminating more than 900 hours of standardized testing across 17 districts each year.
The legislation also puts teachers, parents, and other stakeholders at the table when decisions are made about changes to district testing. Under the bill, each district creates a District Committee on Assessment, tasked with making sure their schools are compliant with the limit in a way that ensures accountability and student progress.
Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller released the following statement:
“Educators across the state of Maryland applaud the House of Delegates for their leadership in addressing our over-testing crisis. For years, elected officials and school leaders have waited while test after test piled up on the desks of teachers and students, narrowing curriculum and erasing instruction time. This unanimous vote today sends a strong signal that educator voices have been heard and the time for waiting is over.
“We now turn our attention to the Senate as we work to put in place a commonsense, reasonable safeguard against over-testing. With 31 co-sponsors—well more than enough for passage—we are hopeful that once again, 98% or more of the school year will be rededicated to what education is all about: teaching and learning.”