CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This school year, students in grades K-3 may spend more time learning and less time taking tests.

This month, North Carolina’ State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced changes to help reduce testing for the state's youngest students

The mClass exam, part of the state’s Read to Achieve program, was administered to students at least three times per year, testing a child’s ability to read. For children who fell behind, teachers were required to do benchmark testing as often as every 10 days.

Under new guidelines, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) has reduced requirements and increased teacher discretion in the use of mCLASS.

The new guidelines come after a push by state lawmakers to reduce testing not required by the state or federal government. In his announcement, Johnson referenced a recent survey which polled more than 25,000 North Carolina teachers and found more than 76-percent of them said their students were tested too much.

Third graders in North Carolina, for example, spend an average of 13 hours every school year taking tests, coming only second behind 8th graders, who spend an average 16 hours, according to data provided by NCDPI.

Teachers said that time only accounts for state and federally mandated tests and does not include time spent on class tests or the amount of time teachers spend preparing their students for the tests.

“lt’s a loss of instructional time. It’s a loss of authentic learning opportunities and time where students, I have always said my children, and my students don’t become better learners by taking a test,” said teacher Amanda Cooper.

NBC Charlotte reached out to school districts in our area and will be updating their responses.