I applaud your dedication to helping you prepare your students for their testing. For a student of any age to be expected to do well on a standardized test, a well-planned and thorough practice regimen are musts if the student is to have any idea what to expect and be able to focus, think clearly and test as well as possible.
A couple hours every week or so is hardly too much time spent on testing. It's lessons, it's learning, it's dress rehearsal. Playing an instrument growing up, I spent 30 minutes or more every single day, plus an hour a week at lessons and an hour every day in music class, not including the performances in concerts - and that was extracurricular. Why expect anything different from test preparation?
It's the same theory - you have to do anything at least 10 times to become comfortable with it, and in practicing with students regularly, they're learning what it takes to be prepared for testing, while at the same time any overwhelming anxiety about a high-stakes situation is reduced dramatically. That in turn creates a more meaningful experience for the student in the end, because they've learned a real life lesson about working hard to achieve a goal.
So is test-taking the be-all end-all of school? Obviously not. There are hundreds of hours spent in the classroom NOT testing, but learning, developing student-teacher relationships and so much more. But is test-taking an applicable life skill that teaches "practice makes perfect" and performance-based evaluation (who has a job that doesn't involve evaluations?) Absolutely.
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