By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Advocates are calling for fewer standardized tests in Maryland’s public schools.

Maryland has one of the worst records in the country for classroom time spent on test preparation. It’s ranked 49th.

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What does that mean? Maryland teachers spend more time preparing kids for tests than fostering learning.

According to advocates for less standardized testing, kids are under a lot of pressure these days.

Who would know better than Amanda Evans, a third grade teacher with a child in kindergarten?

“There’s pressure to be reading at a certain level by the end of the [kindergarten] year,” Evans says.

According to the Maryland State Education Association, the average Maryland student takes more than 200 standardized tests. That equates to about 250 hours of classroom time spent on preparation.

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Last year, 14 districts spent 30 or more hours testing. The proposal limits those hours to 21.6 for elementary and middle schools, 23.4 for high schools.

“We’re actually inhibiting development of our young people and its crushing to our teachers and our support staff and our families who are stressed out and our kids are stressed out,” says Sen. Roger Manno (D-Montgomery County).

To supporters, scaling back is just common sense.

The House passed the bill last session, and at latest count more than two-thirds of the Senate has signed on this year.

A recent poll shows 90 percent of educators and 67 percent of voters think there’s too much time spent on testing.

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