Standardized Testing Isn’t Necessary During a Pandemic

Standardized Testing Isn't Necessary During a Pandemic

Angie Jaramillo , Editor

On Feb 15, 2021,  the Florida Department of Education announced that standardized testing will be mandatory and held in school face-to-face. Even those whose parents have decided to keep their children at home due to COVID-19, will not have an available option to opt out their exams this year and must take these state-wide tests. 

State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran signed an order stating that these standardized tests are more important than anything else because many students are struggling learning their materials at home and are not up to date with their grades. The order also stated that the test results will show and prove that each student was given the resources to succeed. 

I firmly believe schools are not under any conditions to receive 20 to 40 kids in a classroom at a time like this to take these tests while reassuring that extra precautions will be taken. If one student or administration does not comply with these safety regulations, one could carry the virus, spreading it to others in a matter of minutes.

A SunSentinel article, “Students must return to school for testing, even if they’ve been learning at home,” illustrated that,  many teachers and parents have argued against these actions and demand to have more available options to those who are immune compromised or who have immunocompromised family members who live with them.They have argued that there was a huge learning gap this year and it is not fair to all of these students that have not taken standardized exams for more than a year now.

According to a New York Times article, “Florida Coronavirus Map and Case Count,” the virus has killed over 34,000 people statewide.A daily average of 756 new cases are found each day in and an average of 8 people die everyday in Broward County. 

Students have been in a different learning environment throughout the entire year and I personally think that it would not be fair to them to take a test for what they have barely learned.  Being thrown into the classroom after over a year could throw a student off and could cause them to do worse on the test. 

Not only are the students having a hard time, but so are the teachers.

A USA Today article reported that, throughout the pandemic, school administrators and teachers have been experiencing higher levels of burnout. Testing will exacerbate these stress levels due to the difficulty of a month long period of testing with new procedures and safety protocols in place.   

Schools have a plethora of other safety options when it comes to standardized testing during the pandemic. They could conduct the test online, allowing students to stay home. For example, Collegeboard has even given the option to take several tests online this year for students enrolled in AP courses. This option creates a safer environment for students and still allows the test to be completed. 

During the pandemic, I was able to take my Accuplacer exam, a college test, virtually. I did not experience any trouble or stress while taking my exam. The program they used was quickly implemented into my laptop and it was really easy to navigate through my exam and the procedures.

To avoid cheating, they could implement a program that allows the proctor to watch the student test through the computer camera and allows the proctor to view the student’s screen. This way they can ensure the student is doing the work themselves.The school board could use the website “Examity” or “ProctorU” to proctor over the students while they test. They have the students show their desk and the surroundings they are in to prove they are not cheating.

Testing online may not be suitable for all schools, so instead they could cancel testing overall and implement mini standardized quizzes throughout the year.

 An article called, “What Does the Research Say About Testing?”, it stated, studies have shown that students perform better and retain more information when they take mini tests throughout the year, rather than standardized tests at the end of the year.

Inputting quick and small quizzes about subjects students recently learned about, is the most effective type of tests. This way, students retain more information and teachers don’t focus on test material; they have more time to teach things the students need for next year. 

 Many school board officials believe testing  is necessary and will help evaluate the student’s progress as well as assess how the teacher taught throughout the year. However, scores won’t be accurate because the students and teachers would be put into an environment they are not used to and be thrown out of their usual routine. 

Students haven’t been in a school environment in over a year. Placing them in one to take a test that determines whether or not they pass will likely cause them to be nervous and over stressed. They haven’t as much information as they could have. A percentage of students felt that online caused them to lack the ability to retain as much information as they could.