Biden Greenlights Spring Assessments, AFT Sees Red

The Biden Administration just released its assessment policy. It tracks what a lot of people have been suggesting, and what some key education civil rights groups have asked for. Namely, there will be assessments but no accountability based on the results pursuant to federal requirements and no student participation requirements, which makes sense in this context.

It also includes operational flexibility as needed given the nature of schooling right now. In particular, modified assessments and students don’t have to return to school for tests if they are not in school – which seems like it might play into the politics of reopening. The AFT highlighted that provision in their unhappy statement criticizing the policy.

It is awkward to ask for gazillions in public money to help schools address learning loss without making an effort to assess the extent and prevalence of that loss. So it’s a reasonable proposal and politically and substantively a good one given today’s context. Keep an eye, though, on the flexibility requests that do come in as part of waiver requests states will be seeking. That’s the test, so to speak.

2 thoughts on “Biden Greenlights Spring Assessments, AFT Sees Red

  1. Mike G

    Wouldn’t it be way better to test 0.5% of the kids in a rigorous manner that actually captures the true state of play (ie, create a targeted sample, pay $200 per kid to show up and take it seriously, get 99% participation of that representative cohort. Cost: $50 million out of $130 billion in federal Covid aid to schools).

    versus

    an all-over-the-place testing regime, with so many opt outs and asterisks that everyone is confused about whatever the results say?

  2. arotherham Post author

    Yeah, that would be the way if this was just to get a sense on magnitude or rate. The idea though is that we need to get a handle on where kids are as best we can. Those two things are getting conflated and confused in the rhetoric about this – both honest confusion and advocacy. For instance, people keep saying ‘ I’m for accountability but of all years this is the year to pause accountability so why is Biden doing this?’ But the policy is an accountability pause. If states make a good faith effort and the administration does offer reasonable flexibility this seems doable.

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