There is no student accountability in these tests. And these are hours of testing, mind you. Almost all of these mandatory standardized tests have no bearing on the grades or graduation of students. None. These higher ups either assume kids are too stupid to figure this out, or they are too stupid themselves to see this fallacy with big testing.
Imagine if your state required everyone with a drivers license to take a four hour test every spring over driving laws and diver safety. It doesn't matter how you score. You may not see your score for another six or eight months anyway. There are no personal consequences for doing horribly on the test. You just have to take it. If you miss every single question, there is no impact on you whatsoever. How many adults would put forth the effort to do their best on such a test, especially after a few years of doing so?
That's what we do in public education, though. Take these lengthy tests. They are very important. "Do I get a grade for this?" No, but we need you to do your best. Now work hard these next few hours. "Yeah, right..."
I have a student who enrolled this year from a homeschooled background. He stopped by my classroom just before heading off to get started on some state mandated testing. Our quick exchange went like this:
"Is it true I can just write 'Donald Duck' all over my test?"
"They were telling me it doesn't matter what you write on there because we don't get graded for it."
"Who told you that-- some classmates?"
"Yeah. Kids with good grades."
And such is the problem with our current system of testing. Until students are held accountable for their scores, a significant bulk of them will never take ownership of them. If there's no ownership, there is little effort. That means test results are never an accurate reflection of what kids know and how schools are doing, which is the whole purpose schools are required to give them.
Either add some personal accountability for students or stop all the standardized testing and hand those millions of tax dollars over to schools to use on TEACHING students.