WETHERSFIELD, CT (WFSB) – All week, Channel 3 is getting an in-depth look inside children’s classrooms across the state.
In partnership with two of the state’s teacher unions, the American Federation of Teachers Connecticut and Connecticut Education Association (CEA), 1,500 teachers responded to a survey, which was sent to 50,000.
The second topic of the survey looked into standardized testing.
For some students, standardized testing is causing a lot of stress and anxiety because they’re constantly studying.
Some teachers are saying it’s too much and it’s taking away from their social skills.
Mother of two, Josi Cook says her middle and high school students hit the books often.
“She is very focused on her studies, she has an agenda and makes sure that if she has a test, studies ahead of time for it. And my son is more on the fly and when he has a test, that’s when he studies,” Cook said.
It can be a lot of pressure on the students to do well.
“I do feel the stress and the kids are testing a lot lately. It’s not just the standardized test, but also district assessment, so it’s a combination of both and a lot of unnecessary tests,” Cook said.
All of the testing can be tough on some kids.
“For our more vulnerable or complex students, it can really be a trying experience to get there and it has taken a toll every day and gets harder,” said Mary Yordon, Norwalk Federation of Teachers.
Students in grades three through eight in public schools take a computer-based test called “Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium” or SBAC, which focuses on English and Math.
The data from the results lets school districts know if they’re meeting the Common Core standards.
Channel 3 asked teachers, “What effects do government-mandated standardized teaching and testing methods have on education?”
Of those that answered, 42 percent of teachers say Common Core state standards have negatively affected instruction and 51 percent of teachers say SBAC has negatively affected instruction in their classrooms.
Manchester High School math teacher, Kate Dias has seen this.
“You have students who have lots of skills and abilities and talents that are in no way shape or form reflected on standardized assessments. We have dismissed all of those because unless it’s reflected in these specific categories, we are essentially saying we aren’t going to worry about that, we are not going to value that. And I think that’s the dismissive nature of testing,” Dias said.
Some professionals say the data from the testing isn’t showing much.
“Very recent studies have shown that in the states that have aggressively adopted the Common Core standards, the measuring of progress in math and English, haven’t really changed in terms of where students were ten years ago and where they are today,” said Don Williams, CEA Executive Director.
Channel 3 also asked teachers, “Are schools placing enough emphasis on students’ social growth vs. academic growth?
Almost 70 percent of teachers answered no.
“Anytime you sit kids down and tell them to sit quietly for hours at a time, you’re certainly detracting from a social opportunity,” Dias said.
One teacher says many elementary school students are lacking social skills saying, “Basic skills such as eye contact and personal space are not in place. This in turn causes struggles with self-awareness, anger management, self-control and a variety of interpersonal issues.”
“The anxiety and stress of younger kids, kindergarten, first grade, is unprecedented. We haven’t seen this before. We expect now, the kids to come to kindergarten ready to learn and already knowing certain things,” Yordon said.
Testing could be having a future impact on the trades, areas like welding, plumbing and carpentry.