Obama Says Too Much Testing Makes Education Boring


obamaPresident Barack Obama said today that students should take fewer standardized tests and school performance should be measured in other ways. Too much testing makes education boring for kids, he said.”Too often what we have been doing is using these tests to punish students,” the president told students and parents at a town hall hosted by the Univision Spanish-language television network at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, D.C.

Obama, who is pushing a rewrite of the nation’s education law that would ease some of its rigid measurement tools, said policymakers should find a test that “everybody agrees makes sense” and administer it in less pressure-packed atmospheres, potentially every few years instead of annually.

At the same time, Obama said, schools should be judged on criteria other than student test performance, including attendance rate.

“One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching the test because then you’re not learning about the world, you’re not learning about different cultures, you’re not learning about science, you’re not learning about math,” the president said. “All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test and that’s not going to make education interesting.”

“And young people do well in stuff that they’re interested in,” Obama said. “They’re not going to do as well if it’s boring.”

The president endorsed the occasional administering of standardized tests to determine a “baseline” of student ability. He said his daughters Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, recently took a standardized test that didn’t require advance preparation but was just used as a tool to diagnose their strengths and weaknesses, and areas where they could use more emphasis from teachers. The girls attend the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington.

Obama, who has been pushing his education agenda all month, has expressed concern that too many schools will be unable to meet annual proficiency standards under the No Child Left Behind law this year. The standards are aimed at getting 100 percent of students proficient in math, reading and science by 2014, a goal now widely seen as unrealistic.

The Obama administration has proposed replacing those standards with a loftier yet less prescriptive requirement that by 2020 all students graduating from high school should be ready for college or a career.

Obama wants Congress to send him a rewrite of the 2001 law before the start of a new school year this fall. Although his education secretary, Arne Duncan, has been working hard with lawmakers of both parties, the deadline may be unrealistic with Congress focused on the budget and the economy. Congressional Republicans also look unwilling to sign off on Obama’s plans to increase spending on education.

{The Associated Press/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Good for Mr. Obama. A liberal interest regarding our testing structure. Who would conclude that our ways are perfect? I think there is substance and I am clearly glad this is a concern or particular on his possible agenda. Go B.H.O. Get them in the seat and make it fit. Thanks!

  2. He is an expert on how to fix the economy despite knowing nothing about economics or ever having run a business. He knows everything about foreign policy despite alienating our former friends and empowering our enemies. He knows more about medical practices than doctors or insurance companies and now he is the expert on education.

    Testing makes education boring. And work makes people tired. So take away the education and take away the work instead of teaching people to overcome difficulties for their own good. My daughter works very hard to get good grades because she knows her future depends on it. I guess if you can become president without knowing anything you think that no job needs expertise.

    If anyone needs an explanation about how Achashverosh can both me a melech rasha and a melech tipesh, he need look no farther than here.

  3. What Obama wants is to make Americans more stupid so they will vote for him again in 2012. Tests are boring, let kids learn about interesting things. Forget standardized education. Look, it’s bad enough with standardized education. The point is that once you take away that standardization it’s not that people will suddenly be more interested in learning. The idea is that people will have no pressure to ever really know or remember anything. That is scary. The goal, make it easier to brainwash people because you can get them to think whatever you want them to think.

  4. Obama is so right. studies have shown that written tests don’t show what the child knows. written tests are wrong.usually the children know far more then what the mark on top of the paper says, so i hope that obama gets this point going.

  5. I remember NOTHING from ANY Standardized test…. EVER. So if it made me “smarter”, I must say I do not receive the blessing of knowing true or false. That said, in this age of internet and free knowledge access being more ubiquitious, we need to train stronger minds who can motivate themselves to bring themselves truth and prosperity. This does not mandate a “test scare” or “testing process”. The children should learn to learn and the teachers are the ones who can devise constructive educational processes to learn. A night staying up cramming is not the worst experience and I know I’ve had a few of my own, but that said, it did not give me a long term benefit and only a breif experience. That said, keep the testing, but consider its relevance and necessity in the order of producing stronger minds.

  6. In addition to the above, I was just reading an article today from the Boston Globe on children’s ability to learn and seek learning. In a study, it was found that children who are given proper instruction and the capacity to explore their environment are more apt to make discovery. In fact, rote academic learning may not be the highest producer of intelligent insight and discovery. It really is important to allow for exploration and clearly in our academic pursuits which do involve routine testing, one is forced to stay on the beat and stay away from the expoloration process where TRUE learning DOES take place. Just a thought. Thanks!

  7. Testing is not about accountability. It is about ability to complete a program of study and perhaps be able to utilize the knowledge to make decisions. To say that one must account for his studies does not ensure that he or she has the capacity to apply the science to a problem or a series of questions. That said, the name of the game is making stronger citizens. Not automatons who are here for the test to ace and then shelve the book for the duration of their existence. Montessori schools are of the notion I believe that one can be an independant learner and master and advance in discovery. Though this is not the ideal model for all schools, its principles are solid and should be incorporated in the schools at some level. I went to a public high school. I have known some privately schooled children whose school (Hawken- Cleveland) was set up to allow for a liberal and free moving educational process. It was like walking out of the gulag and visiting a hotel for blessed thinkers. I must say that I would love to be in a situation where my thoughts and discovery process are not inhibited and in this day and age with internet learning and more media, one can certainly devise a more encompassing curriculum in his private time. The goal should be to produce the thinkers and acheives of tomorrow. Not the army of ants that can devour tests and sharpen their number 2 pencil. Just a thought. Thanks.