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States Need to Plan Now to Forego Standardized Testing in 2020-21

April 16, 2020

As states grapple with the reality of insufficient COVID-19 testing, including critical testing of the asymptomatic who might be carriers as well as those who have already had the virus and unknowingly developed COVID-19 antibodies; and as states face the truth that a vaccine is likely at best a year away, and as states wrestle with the idea that the virus may well recycle in the fall, leaders in those same states need to decide now to scrap standardized testing in their schools for the 2020-21 school year.

Students nationwide are missing in-person classroom instruction this spring due to COVID-19, and it is realistic to expect that the virus may well impact the opening of schools for the 2020-21 school year. Even as governors, school boards and other officials contend with the complexities of shuttered school buildings in the spring of 2020, a cloud looms concerning how, exactly, to enact social distancing and other protections at school in the fall of 2020.

It is entirely possible in 2020-21 that students might have to attend school in shifts, or experience some hybrid of in-person and distant instruction, or that schools, districts, or entire states might have to shelter in place at some point during the 2020-21 school year due to coronavirus resurgence.

Standardized testing eats up a lot of time, energy, and money. For many schools, the school year is no longer one of four quarters of instruction but instead at best three quarters instruction and one quarter “testing season.” At best.

With coronavirus threat already hanging over the 2020-21 school year, the time to cancel the testing is now. Now. Before the 2020-21 school year is scheduled to begin. Instead, put those resources (time, energy, and money, millions and millions of dollars in money) in reserve as a proactive measure for facing COVID-19 in 2020-21.

Doing so is a critical, timely investment.

State superintendents of education and local education agencies should begin petitioning the federal government en masse now to forego testing requirements associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Beyond that, governors and legislators should just have the brass to move ahead with this plan and cancel testing contracts now to avoid having to pay later for tests that those states may well need to cancel anyway and that will devour precious class time– instructional time that it is especially important to bank now in the face of COVID-19 resurgence unknowns.

Cancel testing for the 2020-21 school year.

Now is the time.

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5 Comments
  1. David Di Gregorio permalink

    I agree 100% and hope this will become reality.

  2. Lisa McGehee permalink

    I agree that this is the best course of action. Teachers could spend the first 9 weeks catching students up and not spend weeks on test prep. Teachers could just teach all year. I am sure that they would be thrilled!

  3. Kathy Edmonston Gmail permalink

    Love this idea!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Education and commented:
    This is a great idea. I agree 100%

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