So the Biden administration’s decision to go ahead with the tests angered national teachers’ unions who backed his candidacy – and left some principals and test skeptics worried that the results. 2021 tests do not offer a full, meaningful, or fair account of how childrearing is done. held up really well during the pandemic.
“We have to be very careful,” Ryan Stewart, New Mexico’s secretary of public education, said in an interview. “We have some concerns about validity and reliability, and we need to be measured by the kind of conclusions we draw from this year’s evaluations.”
Georgia school superintendent Richard Woods offered harsher criticisms.
“I completely disagree with this decision, and I think it shows the continued disconnect between Washington, DC and the realities of the classroom,” Woods said in a statement after the administration’s decision not to issue. of “blanket waivers” for testing requirements, echoing education officials. and directors in California, New York and other states. “I continue to believe that high-stakes standardized testing in the midst of a pandemic is neither necessary, nor wise, nor useful.”
Federal authorities are offering states the option to skip certain warrants and also want them to consider shortened testing, online exams, or extended testing schedules. States are also discouraged from using exams to determine students’ final grades or whether they will advance to the next class.
“Balancing these priorities is the best approach,” Ian Rosenblum, acting deputy secretary for primary and secondary education at the ministry, said last week. A range of influential educational organizations, civil rights groups and business leaders agree.
Public opinion polls show growing concern over students losing ground amid the pandemic, but giving up testing for a sophomore year would likely have given Biden an easy victory with teachers, a base strong policy of support in the 2020 elections. For educators, the country is already wondering how to reopen schools, reduce technological disparities and bridge uneven approaches to face-to-face teaching. Some kids haven’t been in a classroom for almost a year, while others are only on campus part-time.
“Standardized tests are imperfect measures at best and often provide snapshots of student performance that are far too small to help educators in any given year, let alone during a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic.” California State Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond said in a statement last week.
Some education officials argue that a flexible approach to testing is a way to track student performance in an unpredictable year.
“Anyone who has been through the pandemic in the United States can understand why it is currently logistically difficult to assess students in a standardized way,” said Mike Magee, CEO of the educational organization Chiefs for Change. “Taking an approach that empowers states to create meaningful accommodations for students, while providing meaningful assessments, is the right approach.”
Several states are moving forward with testing plans this school year, including Pennsylvania, where officials have said they are not seeking a government waiver or revising state assessments due to ‘a “moral imperative” to use testing as a means of measuring learning loss.
But, Acting Secretary of State for Education Noe Ortega said in a letter to federal officials last weekend that the large number of middle and high schools in Pennsylvania online-only and ” increasing levels of staff quarantine “made it impossible to conduct tests responsibly in the years to come. weeks. The state plans to let schools suspend testing until later this year, Ortega said, in part to ensure more student participation.
Despite these plans, two Pennsylvania state senators have called on the White House and the Department of Education to let states completely evade testing this year. The California State School Board voted to ask for flexibility from the federal government, adding to a list of local authorities who were already hoping to skip broad standardized tests this spring.
Tony Thurmond, the state superintendent of public education for California, said resources spent on testing could be better used to help students recover from a crisis caused by a pandemic.
“Standardized tests are flawed measures at best and often provide snapshots of student performance that are far too small to help educators in any given year, let alone a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic,” he said. Thurmond said last week.
“Even though more schools will reopen in the weeks and months to come, it seems unlikely that there will be enough time to meaningfully prepare our students for statewide testing. ”Thurmond said. Remote testing “just isn’t a viable option” for the hundreds of thousands of students who still don’t have internet access at home, he said.
An opponent of high-stakes testing said that kind of tension would push the White House and Miguel Cardona, whom the Senate confirmed as education secretary this week, to relax the requirements even more, or even fuel a huge movement. of families simply choosing to remove their children have not been fully tested this school year.
“The concept of a standardized test is that it is given to all candidates in a common way based on common learning opportunities,” said Bob Schaeffer, interim executive director of the FairTest organization. “All the assumptions underlying the standardized tests are false in 2021, due to the learning conditions linked to the pandemic.”
The aggregate test data emerging this year “won’t make sense,” Schaeffer argued.
Or maybe this year’s test results will confirm what many educators already know.
“There is no doubt that we know the kids are falling behind,” New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said last week, a day before his abrupt resignation from his post.
“As an educator, I would say to parents, there is an opt-out. And if there is a time for parents to wonder if this opt-out option makes sense to you, now is the time, ”Carranza said.