• Education

    Standardized tests for virtual students? How will school funding fare?

    When the world of K-12 education spiraled into confusion last spring, many teachers and students quietly delighted in the disappearance of high-stakes tests. The multiple-choice questions and hours spent monitoring exams were suddenly gone. Schools pivoted to finding students and connecting everyone digitally. The Department of Education dropped the requirement for states to administer annual achievement exams in reading and math, which usually happens in spring. “We’re living in a time we all dreamed about – there’s no standardized testing,” said Randal Lutz, superintendent of Baldwin-Whitehall schools, a district of about 4,700 students in suburban Pittsburgh. “We told teachers: Go have fun with kids. Go teach the things you wanted to…

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  • Education

    What you need to know about standardized testing

    Ravitch worked from 1991 to 1993 as assistant secretary in charge of research and improvement in the Education Department of President George H.W. Bush, and she served as counselor to then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander, who had just left the Senate where he had served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. She was at the White House as part of a select group when George W. Bush first outlined No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a moment that at the time she said made her “excited and optimistic” about the future of public education. But her opinion changed as NCLB was implemented and she researched its effects on teaching and learning.…

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  • Education

    Biden administration urged to allow states to cancel spring standardized testing

    “It does not take a standardized assessment to know that for millions of America’s children, the burden of learning remotely, either full- or part-time, expands academic learning gaps between haves and have nots. Whenever children are able to return fully to their classrooms, every instructional moment should be dedicated to teaching, not to teasing out test score gaps that we already know exist. If the tests are given this spring, the scores will not be released until the fall of 2021 when students have different teachers and may even be enrolled in a different school. Scores will have little to no diagnostic value when they finally arrive. Simply put, a…

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  • Education

    Michigan asking feds to cancel standardized tests after year of inconsistent education

    Hamtramck Public Schools Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed thinks the only tests that schools should be focused on conducting this school year is COVID-19 tests. Ahmed is among Michigan school leaders and parents advocating for the state’s standardized tests to be canceled this year. The Detroit-area superintendent said schools should focus on addressing inequities exposed by the pandemic and supporting students through this unprecedented school year. “Overwhelming educators with meaningless assessments is going to hurt our students and put them further behind,” Ahmed said. “I don’t feel that (standardized assessments) will provide a true reflection of where students are or their learning loss.” The Michigan Department of Education wants to cancel the…

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  • Education

    More states seek federal waivers from standardized tests as Biden extends deadline for requests

    This is the second straight year that states are asking for waivers. In 2020, Betsy DeVos, the education secretary in the Trump administration, told all states they did not have to administer the tests after schools were abruptly closed when the pandemic hit. She said last year, however, that if she remained education secretary, she wouldn’t give the waivers again. This week, the U.S. Education Department sent a letter to chief state school officers saying the Feb. 1 deadline for seeking a waiver was being extended though it didn’t set a new deadline. It promised states that it would soon provide details on submitting waiver requests as well as state…

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  • Education

    Calls growing for Biden to do what DeVos did: Let states skip annual standardized tests this spring

    The current education secretary, Betsy DeVos, approved waivers to states allowing them not to administer the annual exams last spring as the coronavirus pandemic led schools to close. She said recently she wouldn’t do it again, but Biden’s triumph in November’s elections means the decision is no longer hers. It’s up to Cardona — assuming he is confirmed by the Senate, as expected — and the Biden administration to decide whether to provide states flexibility from the federal law. The annual spring testing regime — complete with sometimes extensive test preparation in class and even testing “pep rallies” — has become a flash point in the two-decade-old school reform movement…

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