California Educator

December/January 2021

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identify individual student successes or learning gaps. State tests are about accountability and district/school-level planning, not students." e call to suspend standardized test- ing comes as the State Board of Education approved in November the development of short forms for some assessments but stopped short of requesting a waiver. e Betsy DeVos-led U.S. Department of Edu- cation (ED) has repeatedly denied such requests from states, and California offi- cials are moving forward with assessment plans as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) — though federal guidance is expected to change when the Biden administration takes office on Jan. 20. Boyd is hopeful that the new secretary of education will agree with educators. "Conducting standardized testing in spring would be detrimental to students and of limited use to teachers, schools and school districts," Boyd said. "Forcing students to complete and educators to administer tests that weren't developed for a di stance-learning environm ent serves no real useful purpose." Vast numbers of California students still lack internet access and the neces- sary equipment to reliably participate in distance learning, let alone take lengthy online tests. Continuing with business as usual on testing will exacerbate existing inequities and add even more obstacles for students who already have too many. ese tests also require the use of secure internet browsers, which would need to be installed on devices for every student — a logistical feat for any school district. And there's the simple fact that nothing is standard about the environments in which these tests would be completed. "On any given day, and under the best circumstances, test scores alone fail to tell us how a child is doing and where they need improvement," Boyd said. "We need to focus our time and energy on meeting the challenges of the distance Parents Can Choose to Opt Out While state officials have yet to act on suspending testing for this spring, all parents and guardians still have the right to opt their students out of standardized assessments. California Education Code 60615 allows parents and guardians to submit written requests to school officials to excuse their students from state-mandated tests. Specific details are available from each school district. There are no consequences for opting out of testing. CTA's Stance on Assessments CTA believes assessments should be used to inform instruction and improve student learning. They are not meant to label students or schools. State tests must be age- and subject- appropriate, and must be free from cultural, racial, gender, socioeconomic and linguistic biases. A true reflection of student achievement and improvement is always done through multiple measures and can never focus on just one test score. 40 Advocacy Let CVT Show You and Your Chapter Members the Right Path More Choices and Value-Added Benefits Healthcare can be confusing with all the plans, options and variables. CTA members have different family healthcare situations and need to have choices, as well as plans, that meet their needs. That's what California's Valued Trust is all about. More choices, more options and people to help your Association and its members through the complex journey of healthcare benefits. For more information, visit or call 800-288-9870

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