One year of missing tests


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The SAT or ACT isn’t the first time students have encountered standardized tests. By the time today’s children graduate from high school, they will have succeeded. dozen. But tests in K-12 education, often mandated by the government, have a broader purpose than college entrance tests. It is about evaluating students not only as individuals, but as a population, with their teachers, schools and districts.

During the pandemic, this information is even more important, says Morgan Polikoff, professor of educational policy at the University of Southern California. “We need to know how the pandemic has affected the students,” he says. And it is likely, he adds, that the education of students of color and those in urban areas, where distance education has persisted the longest, suffered disproportionately in the 2020 school year. -21.

But it is impossible to be sure. In the spring of 2020, the US Department of Education waived the obligation for states to perform annual tests. The National Assessment of Educational Progress every two years, initially scheduled for 2021, have been reported.

Fall 2020 assessments from the nonprofit Northwest Evaluation Association, covering nearly 4.4 million elementary and high school students, found that children were late in math, but still progressing in reading. But there is a caveat: About one in four students did not show up for the tests, many of them from minority or low-income populations.

“We don’t know the entire learning loss,” says Matthew Pietrefatta, CEO and founder of tutoring and education company Academic Approach in Chicago.

Eric Grodsky, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believes that missing these tests will be a huge problem in the future. “You need tests to tell yourself how bad the problem is, and you need tests to specify how you are going to help schools and families.”

Clarity May Be Ahead: The Biden Administration required most public schools to complete their annual assessments for the 2020-21 school year, although it allows for shorter or distance exams.

This article is part of Reset: The Science of Crisis and Recovery, one in progress Known magazine series exploring how the world is navigating the coronavirus pandemic, its aftermath, and the way forward. Reset is supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

10.1146 / knowable-071321-2

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