Georgia Cuts Standardized Tests for Students

February 5, 2020 Updated: February 5, 2020

Georgia will reduce the number of standardized tests taken by public school students, among other measures, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Feb. 4, in what is seen as a move to roll back the state’s rigorous testing system.

Kemp and state Superintendent Richard Woods said Tuesday that five mandatory standardized tests for Georgia public school students and four for high school students will be cut.

The Republican officials, who both oppose the current amount of testing at present, said they will also attempt to cut the length of state tests and evaluate local tests that Georgia’s 181 school districts give to evaluate student progress.

Kemp said he was concerned about the health and wellbeing of students in the state.

“When you look at the big picture, it’s clear Georgia simply tests too much,” Kemp said at a news conference, AP reported. “On test days it’s making students physically sick because they’re worried they will not do well. That is simply unacceptable in our state.”

He said he hoped to ease the stress placed on students, teachers, and parents, and added that a student’s learning progress is not best reflected by test results.

“It will increase valuable instruction time for students, remove unnecessary burdens for educators, and give parents better peace of mind about their children’s education,” Kemp added.

Under the new measures, high school students would no longer have to take the economics test, and three others, decided by the state Board of Education—possibly geometry, physical science, and American literature—would also be dropped.

The students would still be required to take four other tests: U.S. history and possibly algebra, biology, and ninth grade literature, according to AP. This excludes the compulsory math, science, and English/language arts tests as required by the federal government.

In total, it will be a requirement to complete eight courses for high school graduation.

But the proposed legislation would allow the state Board of Education to drop the high school exams from being considered in course grades, and the state would no longer have a standard yardstick to evaluate student performance in four of the eight exams.

“I put my faith in the teachers of the state of Georgia,” Woods said, adding that he is confident the state’s standards will be covered by teachers regardless of whether they will be examined.

“Our children remember our teachers,” Woods continued. “They do not remember the tests that they took.”

Changes would also be made to a writing assessment for high school students in Georgia. Instead of students taking the test in 11th grade, they will now be allowed to take the assessment any time from 9th to 12th grade.

Senate Education and Youth Committee Chairman P.K. Martin IV (R-Ga.) will carry the legislation to make the changes to tests in the state.