With every passing hour, more K-12 schools are closing. Ohio and Maryland have become the first to implement a statewide shut down; they will probably not be the last. Local districts are also closing their doors for a few weeks or for as-yet-unrevealed periods of time. Even with attempts to conduct some sort of education through on-line tools, a great deal of classroom instructional time is going to be lost.
There is a long list of problems that come with these closings, from child care to making sure students are fed. A less pressing concern will be the Big Standardized Test. Whether the state still uses the PARCC, the SBA, or some other state-adopted test, most states are still using some large end-of-year assessment to evaluate districts, schools, and individual teachers. There are plenty of reasons to question the high stakes use of these tests in any year, but one thing is clear—this year, they will produce no useful data.
In states where schools are taking an extra-long viral spring break, the interruption will interfere with preparations for the test. Even in schools that stay open, but which shut down sports and performance activities while the school and community fret continuously over whether or not to close completely, this pandemic will be disruptive. The data from tests is supposed to allow for year-to-year comparisons, but this year is now guaranteed to be unlike any other in recent memory, meaning that any variation in the results will be useless for making such comparisons. Within states where some schools will be shuttered and some will carry on, comparisons between districts (all of which are subject to the same cut score for testing) will be meaningless.
There will simply be no way to know how much of this year’s test data is the result of coronavirus disruption. They will be a waste of time.
So don’t give them.
Schools can not only recoup the time lost for giving the tests, but all the time spent preparing for the tests (plus, in some cases, all the time spent on zippy test pep rallies).
Cut the test. Reclaim the instructional time and use it to patch the holes that the coronavirus is going to blow in the school’s curriculum. It’s not a perfect solution, but it makes far more sense than wasting a bunch of time and money on a meaningless standardized test.
This story was originally published by Forbes, and can be found here. Author: Peter Greene.