ATLANTA — ATLANTA—After a year’s absence due to the pandemic, standardized tests are returning to the classroom, a decision that is not sitting well with many educators.
Standardized tests have been around for decades. The U.S. Department of Education allowed states to skip standardized tests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, states have been told the tests are returning with some flexibility.
Federal standardized tests like the Georgia Milestones Assessment are used to measure a student’s progress to that of their peers. Their return is a part of the U.S. Department of Education’s effort to measure the pandemic’s impact on learning.
“It is urgent to understand the impact of COVID-19 on learning,” Assistant Secretary of Education Ian Rosenblum wrote in a letter to state school systems. “To be successful once schools have re-opened, we need to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on learning and identify what resources and supports students need.”
Educators like Lisa Morgan said teachers already know the impact of the pandemic.
“We know our students have had delayed opportunities for learning,” said Morgan. “We would be better off if we simply kept teaching our and focused on instruction.”
Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods is unhappy with the return of the tests as students and teachers continue to contend with the challenges of the pandemic.
“I completely disagree with this decision,” Woods stated in a press release. “It shows the continued disconnect between Washington D.C. and the realities of the classroom.”
The Department of Education has told state school systems that the tests will play an important role in determining areas of the country that have suffered the most during the pandemic from a lack of resources.
Morgan, who is President of the Georgia Association of Educators, worries about the students already stressed by the pandemic.
“Are we going to add to that stress, that social and emotional toll, by having them test as they’re surviving the pandemic?” asked Morgan.
States have the flexibility to delay tests until summer or even fall or offer them remotely.
52% of the parents answering a survey by the National PTA said they’re okay with the return of tests that might help them know if their child has fallen behind.
Georgia’s Superintendent of Education has told educators they should NOT require a child to enter a school building for the sole purpose of taking a standardized test.