US Department of Education Requires Standardized Testing of Students Despite COVID-19

Standardized testing is the norm in school districts but given how complicated this past school year has been, districts would like a reprieve. The federal government says standardize tests must still be completed.

“There is no way to think a student learned nine months worth of school in this past year,” said Bob Grover, superintendent for Chippewa Hills Schools

The past 11 months have been anything but standard for students and districts say their testing shouldn’t be.Standardized Test Changes Pic

However, the US Department of Education says they must still have kids take certain standardized tests despite the challenges.

“That’s exactly what we do all the time, this just makes it a little more apparent,” said Grover, “When we’re comparing virtual students versus your in-person students.”

In normal years, the flaw in standardized testing is that students learn at different rates, it’s individual.This year, there’s been so many more variables added. Some students are in class, some at home and all not getting the normal school year. That raises questions on how standard these tests can be.

“The answer is individualized,” said Grover, “To be honest.”

The US Education Department says districts can delay testing and even do them virtually. The Michigan Department of Education is requesting a waiver for Michigan schools to change the style of test.

“It would allow districts to use benchmark testing instead of M-STEP or other standardized testing,” said Grover, “And schools will not be held accountable for math scores, as opposed to demonstrating how they’re working with individuals trying to help.”

Grover says a virtual test wouldn’t be an accurate gauge of students and districts can’t force students to come in to do them in person.

“I have parents that are refusing to bring their kids into to test anyways,” said Grover, “I don’t know how I can be accountable, as a school district, for our parents’ choice not to bring their kid in.”

While the new plan offers flexibility, it still leaves more to be clarified as schools continue to teach on the fly.

“That’s the question,” said Grover, “How’s that all going to work out.”