Valerie Strauss:Backlash growing to Biden’s insistence that schools give standardized tests during the pandemic
At the Washington Post, columnist Valerie Strauss has pulled together many threads to weave a big picture of just how broad and deep the opposition to a 2021 Big Standardized Test now runs.
The controversy represents the newest chapter in a long-running national debate about the value of high-stakes standardized tests. Since 2002, the federal government has mandated schools give most students ELA and math standardized tests every year for the purposes of holding schools accountable for student progress. The scores are also used to rank schools, evaluate teachers, make grade promotion decisions and other purposes.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says it is necessary for schools to see where students are academically after the chaos of the pandemic school year, and that the test scores will show where to target billions of dollars Congress recently approved for pandemic relief to K-12 schools.
Critics say that two decades of testing has not closed achievement gaps, with results showing the same thing year after year: students of color and from low-income families broadly do worse than other students. More than 540 education researchers and scholars urged Cardona recently to reconsider his department’s decision, saying the exams will “exacerbate inequality” and “produce flawed data” that won’t help direct resources to the neediest students.
Strauss goes on to quote official after official from state after state, all pointing out the futility and waste of subjecting students to a test this year. As she outlines, the opposition is rising in volume. Is anyone in DC listening?