Comments to NYSED on Canceling Standardized Tests
In response to COVID-19, public schools around the country are rightfully adjusting their policies with regard to teaching, learning, and testing practices. In the midst of the current public health crisis, a majority of New York schools shifted to remote instruction at some point in the prior and current school years. Most districts made incredible efforts to reach students through remote and virtual means. However, remote and virtual learning is widely disparate for children depending on their home circumstances, the school they attend, and their personal needs. Many students lack the basics required for successful remote learning, such as device and internet access, a quiet study space, and assistance from parents or tutors. Many students are responsible for taking care of siblings or other family members. And many students have lost their primary caregivers to the disease. These inequalities are magnified for Black and Brown communities who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Given the obvious risks of administering in-person exams during a pandemic, and the undue pressure high stakes standardized testing puts on children and families, the NYCLU fully supports NYSED’s application for a waiver. Additionally, we urge New York State to continue working towards a permanent system where high-stakes are not attached to standardized test scores.