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Illinois Superintendents Oppose Standardized Testing During COVID-19 Pandemic

CHICAGO (CBS) — COVID-19 has already turned the school year upside down, and now there is a push to cancel standardized tests for grade schools and high schools in Illinois.

The U.S. Department of Education is requiring testing starting later this month. But some superintendents are fighting that, saying it’s just not fair to students.

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Pleasantdale Middle School is among the schools in Pleasantdale District 107, which covers Burr Ridge, Willow Springs, Countryside, LaGrange and Indian Head Park. Supt. Dave Palzet says the upcoming state standardized test shouldn’t be given to students this year.

“If the goal of a standardized test is to measure a year’s growth in a year’s time in a standardized way and you don’t have a standardized method of delivering content, are you really measuring what you’re setting out to measure? Is the tool, is the tool really appropriate in that case?” said Palzet.

He is among the 682 school superintendents across Illinois that signed a letter to U.S. Department of Education. It asks for a waiver for mandated state assessments for 2021. Supt. Tony Sanders of School District U-46, wrote the letter. Sanders said testing students now, will have a negative impact.

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“Lost instruction time, increased social, emotional stress for our families, for 13,000 kids who don’t want to come into a school, for results that are meaningless,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Education said the assessments will be used to target the need for resources and support, not to hold schools accountable as to whether students have shown growth in math, science and English. 

Dr. Theresa Rouse is the superintendent of Joliet Public Schools District 86. She also signed the letter.

“The idea of the one time a year stand alone standardized assessment that has a lot of weight put on it being still a part of our world this year, just didn’t seem congruent with the fact that our students are really just trying to survive a pandemic,” she said.

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Dr. Rouse said since the majority of her district has been remote, they are scheduling individual appointments for students in small groups to take the test. Social distancing and mask wearing will be in place.  

Source: CBS Chicago | News Colony

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