In a letter to President Biden, CEA President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel have requested that the Biden Administration suspend the federal requirement for testing this school year.
“The costs of administering federally required testing this spring, in the midst of the worst of the pandemic, far outweigh the benefits,” they write. “The scores would not be reliable, and any decisions based on this unreliable data are likely to be flawed.”
Valid and reliable assessment data can be a useful tool to understand equity and achievement gaps; however, the massive disruptions students learning at school and at home have experienced, as well as other factors unique to the pandemic, cannot be accounted for in standardized tests. During a school year like this one, assessment results are unlikely to provide accurate and reliable snapshots of what students know and are able to do.
“We have long been concerned about the impact of over-testing on the educational experiences and social emotional well-being of Connecticut’s children. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified these concerns,” write Leake and Hochadel.
During a public education forum in 2019 hosted by NEA, AFT, and others, in response to an audience member’s question Biden indicated that he opposed mandated standardized testing.
“The pandemic has put tremendous stress on our educational system, our students, and the teachers who serve them,” state Leake and Hochadel. “Rather than add to the trauma of this year with testing, students would be better served by allocating time and resources toward reconnecting them to teachers and their schools in ways that support their social and emotional well-being that have been so deeply compromised during the pandemic.”