The Daily Tarheel reports on an initiative to make testing less demanding in public schools. The initiative was accounted last week by N.C. State Superintendent Mark Johnson.

According to his Jan. 15 announcement, Johnson considered feedback from parents and teachers, many of whom felt students were taking too many tests, and implemented several steps to reduce testing.

Some of those steps include reducing the number of test questions, reducing the amount of time students sit for tests, working to reduce the amount of locally required tests and giving students ways to show progress aside from testing.

“We will be working with local superintendents and state leaders to reform the system of over-testing,” Johnson said in the statement. “That way, we can give the teachers the time to do what they entered the profession to do: teach.”

John Locke Foundation’s Dr. Terry Stoops weighs in:

Terry Stoops, vice president for research and director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation, thinks Johnson has identified a problem that many have tried to solve in the past, and that’s the widespread discontent with the state testing program.

Stoops oversees the research division at the John Locke Foundation and researches K-12 education policy in North Carolina. Stoops said the problem with testing in North Carolina is that there are too many tests of low quality and limited usefulness.

“If we’re going to do a large-scale reform of testing, then it’s going to require, starting from the ground up, a complete reconceptualization of what testing looks like on the local level, the district level and the state level,” Stoops said. “And that is going to require a lot of different people coming together to find ways to integrate the testing program across all the levels.”

Stoops said Johnson taking these initial steps to reduce state testing could indicate to districts that he is open to having those conversations.

Read more here.