The announcement by the US Department of Education regarding standardized tests is profoundly disappointing. Returning to in-person instruction should be about instructional time and support for our kids, not hours of standardized testing. This is the wrong priority for our kids.
Standardized tests should be suspended this year, a year unlike any other. Educators need flexibility. The message cannot be “welcome back to your classroom, or we know you’ve been in a difficult hybrid learning model, here is a standardized test.” Sadly, that’s the message we got.
We cannot simply be focused on reopening school buildings; we need to be focused on re-opening them better than they were. Issues educators have faced like overcrowded class sizes and inequities are not new, they are just exacerbated by the pandemic.
Over-testing has been a longstanding concern of classroom educators, as decades of standardized tests have shifted the focus in education away from student learning toward a culture of high stakes testing. This crisis calls for a more substantive overhaul of testing requirements.
With districts tailoring their response to meet the unique challenges they face in their own communities, a one-size-fits-all approach to standardized tests misses the mark of this moment. In this moment, suspension of standard tests is the smart thing to do.