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MCPS Considering Ways to Lower Amount of Testing for Middle and High School Students


Students at Montgomery County middle and high schools may be tested less, which could allow more time for instruction. MCPS is considering changes to its assessment program to increase instructional time and reduce the time spent on testing.

As part of MCPS’ review of its overall assessment program, options for possible changes to final exams given in middle and high school were discussed with the Montgomery County Board of Education’s Strategic Planning Committee earlier this week, on Monday, June 22 and will be presented to the full Board in July.

The committee, which is comprised of BOE members Christopher Barclay, Judy Docca, and Jill Ortman-Fouse, presented the BOE with four options to lower test time and increase instructional time during the school year.

MCPS said the options were developed in response to concerns expressed by the Board, students, staff, parents, and community members regarding the number of state and local tests given in MCPS and the amount of instructional time lost due to test preparation and administration.

In March, Board President Patricia O’Neill and Board member Phil Kauffman, chair of the Policy Management Committee, sent a letter to Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers asking that the district consider changes to its testing program.

Maryland State Superintendent Lillian Lowery has also asked all districts in the state to review their testing programs and the General Assembly has created a task force to research the testing load on public school students across the state.


“Assessment is an important part of any instructional program, but we must make sure our tests are providing meaningful data and are not taking too much time away from instruction,” Bowers said. “We look forward to discussing these options with the Board at their July meeting and making thoughtful changes that will benefit our students.”

“I am pleased that the district has developed these options that would ease the testing burden on our students while still embracing accountability,” BOE President Patricia O’Neill said. “I look forward to a robust discussion with staff and my Board colleagues.”