We are being tested to death.
According to Peter Sacks, author of Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It, adults and children in the United States took as many as 600 million standardized tests both inside and outside of schools annually in the 1990s.
And this was before No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed in 2002.
The Education Sector, an independent think tank, reports that an estimated 45 million high-stakes, standardized tests are currently required annually under NCLB alone. Education Sector further estimates that states that have not fully implemented NCLB's testing requirements will have to administer 11 million new tests in reading and math to meet federal mandate, with another 11 million new tests needed when and if science is added to federal requirements.
There is no mystery to how we arrived at today's testing dystopia. The 1983 publication of the Reagan Administration's report on education, A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform, set the trajectory for 25 years of education policy. It sounded the alarm alleging the poor quality of education throughout the United States, equating it with a threat to national security.
Despite the fact that it was thoroughly debunked, within a year of this report being unleashed on the United States, 45 state-level commissions on education were created, and 26 states raised graduation requirements. By 1994, 45 states implemented statewide assessments for kindergarten through 5th grade.
The march toward federally mandated high-stakes, standardized testing continued through to the presidency of George H. W. Bush. His Summit on Education, held with the U.S. governors, became the groundwork for his America 2000 plan focusing on testing and establishing "world class standards" in schools.