US Department of Education rejects NYSED request to cancel the 2020-21 standardized tests

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NEW YORK (WETM) — On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education rejected the New York State Education Department’s request to cancel the standardized tests for the 2020-2021 school year. The federal government said the state can delay the exams but not cancel them.

“School accountability should totally be a state issue,” said Tom Phillips, Executive Director of the New York State Middle School Association. “Then the state would report that to the federal government. The other thing I would say about this whole idea of testing, in this environment, students are struggling enough–staff are struggling enough.”

States must now test students grades third through eighth ELA and Math. High school students must also be tested ELA, Math, and Science.

Phillips said standardized testing is not going to show accurate results because it was not made to test students who are remote learning.

“If you’re using the old measuring system to measure student growth in a system that didn’t exist when those assessments were developed, you are not going to be valid,” Phillips said. “The data you get from those assessments are not going to tell you the to picture what students are learning, you’re measuring something that existed prior to the pandemic.”

Michelle Caulfield is the Corning-Painted Post Area School District Superintendent who said the current testing method for remote learning students is going to be difficult.

“You know our students have had to shift quite a few times since March,” Phillips said. “Keeping that in mind, when you’re deciding how to measure what they’ve learned from March, until now it would be difficult, especially if we are using the typical standard assessments that they that we’ve used in the past.”

The NYSED is working on a plan to properly test students before April.

“We’re hopeful that New York State creates something that keeps the best interests of students in mind,” Caulfield said. “But also provides us with guidance so we know what to do with three through eight testing and also with our Regents Exams.”

On Tuesday, New York State United Teachers strongly rebuked the federal government’s decision.

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