Almost $2 billion spent on standardized testing per year

December 4, 2012

Almost every state in the country requires students to pass standardized tests in math and English to receive a high school diploma, and impressive scores never hurt students' chances to get scholarships for college. Meanwhile, the Brown Center on Education Policy has released a study that estimates that, by combining the estimated $65 spent on testing per student and adjusting for states not included in the study and spending anomalies, the nation spends a total of $1.7 billion per year implementing these tests.

That's not even half of 1 percent of how much is spent on education in the country overall, according to study author, Matthew M. Chingos. He speculates that the superficially high cost of standardized tests might make them potential targets for states looking for programs to cut back on.

"There is the risk of multimillion-dollar assessment contracts contributing to a political backlash against testing among parents and taxpayers who oppose the use of standardized testing for accountability purposes or object to public dollars flowing to for-profit companies," wrote Chingos, according to a follow-up report from Education Week.

Standardized testing unpopular with some Chicago patents
One city that's pushing standardized testing in schools harder than others is Chicago, where WBEZ reports students must complete 13 standardized tests from elementary school through high school. Some parents and administrators who spoke to the news source said they thought the school district has gone overboard with standardized testing, and wish more of the school's funding would be directed elsewhere.

“When I’m being asked as a parent to fundraise for the art teacher to get a color printer, that really angers me,” Rita Bramble, a parent of a student attending the Stone Magnet School in Edgewater, Illinois, told the news source. “Because millions of dollars are being spent on these tests that I oppose and we can’t even get a color printer."

The article points to a growing trend of parents opting their children out of standardized test, but opting out can be unadvisable, considering how certain scores are sometimes required to move up a grade, and some of the more powerful administrators look at a school's standardized test scores to determine how effectively the school teaches students.

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