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You Won't Believe How Many Hours Kids Spend Testing

Photograph by Twenty20

My jaw nearly hit the floor when I read that children spend between 20 to 25 hours taking standardized tests throughout the year.

The Council of the Great City Schools conducted a study of 66 of the nation's big-city school districts with over 7 million students during the 2014-2015 school year. The study found that the average eighth-grader spends 2.34 percent of classroom time testing.

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It's important to note that the percentages mentioned do not account for other class quizzes and exams as well as the number of hours of preparation required by the federal government, states and districts.

Moreover, it's being reported that many schools are overlapping the exams, which means that students are being tested over and over again on similar materials. Some schools were mandating end-of-year tests and end-of-course tests in the same subjects and in the same grade.

"Having states and school districts jointly reviewing redundancy and overlap in their testing requirements will be an important step in reducing unnecessary assessments," said Michael Casserly, the council's executive director.

Even though my daughter is only in kindergarten, I'm already beginning to notice the difference in the lesson plans.

Now in an effort to limit hours spent on testing, President Barack Obama has issued a cap on standardized testing at 2 percent of classroom time.

According to the Associated Press, "The Obama administration still supports annual standardized tests as a necessary assessment tool, and both House and Senate versions of an update to the No Child Left Behind law would continue annual testing. But the rewrite legislation would let states decide how to use test results to determine what to do with struggling schools. Differences between the two bills still need to be worked out."

Clearly, there are still kinks that need ironing out. As far as I'm concern, this problem won't get resolved overnight, and as a parent that concerns me.

My daughter started kindergarten this year and even though her grade level gets the fewest tests compared to 8th- and 10th-graders, I'm still worried about the required exams when she gets older.

With Common Core now baffling parents and children alike, finding a healthy balance is essential.

Even though my daughter is only in kindergarten, I'm already beginning to notice the difference in the lesson plans. Don't get me wrong; I embrace the challenges. She doesn't have any issues understanding the cirruculum. In fact, she is excelling as far as I'm concerned.

However after speaking with parents of some of the older kids, and hearing their concerns regarding their children's stress levels as a result of rigorous testing, I worry about my kids' future education.

According to fairtest.org, the new standard is yielding a new generation of testing nightmares, for students, teachers, parents and administrators.

Some of the other parents—who are also teachers—I've spoken with say they don't agree with this method. They claim it's a bit too intense and doesn't allow students to learn at their own pace.

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One parent told me that she refused to allow her 13-year-old to take the exam and advised me to opt out, if it becomes too stressful for my kids in the future. I plan on doing just that, if the government and department of education don't come up with a happy medium soon.

Photograph by: Stacy-Ann Gooden

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