for further information, contact:
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
mobile (239) 699-0468
for immediate release Wednesday, December 2, 2020
ASSESSMENT REFORMERS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO
SUSPEND HIGH-STAKES STUDENT TESTING IN SPRING 2021;
PETITION CALLS ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, STATE LEADERS
TO LIFT STANDARDIZED EXAM MANDATES
Forcing public schools to administer standardized exams to students after COVID-19 disruptions would produce invalid and unfair results while diverting resources from real educational needs, according to a national campaign to cancel Spring 2021 high-stakes tests that was launched today.
A petition to endorse the “National Call to Suspend High-Stakes Testing in Spring 2021” is available online at: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/suspend-high-stakes-student-testing. Both individuals and organizations are encouraged to sign on.
The campaign is led by FairTest: the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. Initial endorsers include the Network for Public Education and many local groups, such as Save Our Schools New Jersey.
The petition states, “ We call on the U.S. Department of Education to waive provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act that require states administer standardized exams to students in the 2020-2021 academic year. We also call on the states to cancel their own additional testing mandates and to waive any consequences attached to their results, at least for the current school year.”
FairTest interim Executive Director Bob Schaeffer explained, ”Just last week, U.S. Education Secretary DeVos cancelled this spring’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). She recognized that the exams could not be administered safely, fairly, or accurately. We seek suspension of all other state and federal school testing mandates for similar reasons.”
Among the points cited in the “National Call” petition:
● The results won’t be valid, reliable, or useful. We don’t need test scores to know that low-income children in poorly resourced schools have fallen even farther behind in a pandemic.
● There are better ways to know how students from different backgrounds and learning needs fared during the pandemic. Instead of more testing, we should be focusing on solutions that address poverty, racial inequities, and school funding disparities.
● Most parents oppose testing this spring. A mid-October “Understanding America Study” found that 64 percent supported exam suspension. Opposition to testing is strong across all demographic groups, particularly among Black parents, 72 percent of whom favor cancellation.
FairTest’s Schaeffer concluded, “We expect many local school boards, community organizations and educational leaders to endorse this campaign. No test in the world is worth risking the lives of students, teachers and education support personnel.”
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