President Obama has given standardized tests a failing grade and wants to limit their involvement in U.S. classrooms to no more than 2% of students’ and teachers’ time.

“Learning is about so much more than filling in the right bubble,” he said in a White House video.

A new action plan was released yesterday in response to parents and teachers who have complained for years that students are spending too much time taking too many tests.

White House photo
White House photo

CHECK Out: The “World’s Best Teacher” Gives Kids Choices – Instead of Tests

American students in major cities take roughly 112 standardized tests during their elementary and secondary school years. Eighth graders are the most heavily tested, spending up to 25 hours during the school year filling in their multiple choice answers.

The administration now believes all the time spent memorizing facts has taken the joy out of learning–not just for kids, but for the teachers who are restricted in their creativity. The president suggests the time could be better used for them to take up a musical instrument, study a new language, or learn computer code.

Obama said the Department of Education intends to work with states and school districts to make sure certain testing principles are put in place so that assessments are not consuming too much instructional time and creating undue stress.

“Tests shouldn’t occupy too much classroom time, or crowd out teaching and learning,” wrote Obama in an open letter. “And, tests should be just one source of information. We should use classroom work, surveys, and other factors to give us an all-around look at how our students and schools are doing.”

RELATED: Alabama’s New Education Standards Praised for Being Pro-Science

No Child Left Behind is currently U.S. law and any major adjustments would require Congressional approval, so the White House has laid out a plan urging legislators to follow the lead of many states by enacting new guidelines.

Ten states have already conducted assessments or streamlined statewide and local standardized tests. New York has limited the amount of time that can be spent on state – and district – level standardized tests to just 2% of class time. Since 2010, New Mexico has reduced the time spent every year on the tests by an average of a half-hour each year – with some districts cutting the time by three hours.

ALSO: Girl Wins Top Prize Inventing Ebola Test That’s Cheaper, Better, Faster

North Carolina, Rhode Island, Delaware, Florida, Tennessee, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and DC have all taken some steps toward the improvements the president is calling for — to make tests worthwhile, to enhance learning in the classroom, and to limit the tests as only one measure of a student’s performance. 

(WATCH the White House video below – only on Facebook)

If our kids had more free time at school, what would you want them to do with it? A) Learn to play a musical instrument?B) Study a new language?C) Learn how to code HTML?D) Take more standardized tests?Take the quiz, then watch President Obama's message about smarter ways to measure our kids’ progress in school.

Posted by The White House on Saturday, October 24, 2015


  1. Finally: some common sense. At first NCLB was a good thing… minority kids were reaching my middle school classroom with solid reading and learning skills. Then it reached a point of diminishing returns. Finally the overtesting, emphasis on failing kids at the expense of average and gifted students, rote memorization, the replacement of individualized lesson planning by scripts teachers were forced to read rather than teach, destroyed my school. It broke my heart and led me to retire early.

Leave a Reply