The head of the Maryland Senate’s education committee said Tuesday that lawmakers will try to address standardized testing during the ongoing legislative session, despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s statement that he would rather wait for a commission to weigh in on the issue this summer.
“We believe some progress can be made this legislative session without losing another year for students,” Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), vice chairman of the Senate Education, Health and Environment Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
The General Assembly would probably not pass legislation that will put a cap on the number of tests, an aide to House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said. But it will probably approve measures that deal with overtesting, including one that would require districts to report annually the number of hours students spend taking standardized tests, one that calls for parents to be notified about tests and another that would offer “best practices” for testing.
The Maryland State Education Association, which has been pushing to make overtesting a priority this session, applauded the decision. Teachers, parents and students in Maryland and across the country have long complained about the number of tests students are given and the amount of instruction time that is lost.
“Standardized testing is taking more and more time away from learning,” said Betty Weller, president of the state teachers union. “This is an urgent problem that requires immediate action.”
Matt Clark, a spokesman for Hogan (R), said the governor agrees that students are overtested and will take a close look at any legislation that the General Assembly considers. Hogan does not plan to include any bills on reducing testing in his legislative package, Clark said.
Last year, the General Assembly passed a bill that created a commission to review the use of assessments and testing in public schools. Hogan named members to the commission in the fall, and the panel is scheduled to submit its findings in July.
Earlier versions of this story incorrectly described a statement last week by Gov. Larry Hogan on testing. Hogan said he would not propose legislation regarding testing of students this year. He did not make a statement about what lawmakers would do. The article has been corrected.