Education officials seek to move away from standardized testing

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The Illinois State Board of Education is awaiting a word on a request to waive spring 2021 assessments in schools.

State Superintendent Carmen Ayala sent a letter requesting the waiver for assessments, noting that more than one million Illinois students are still receiving distance learning instruction. According to the ISBE, fewer than 200 school districts serving fewer than 200,000 students are currently able to offer in-person instruction.

Education unions have urged the ISBE to request the waiver. In a joint letter with the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Principals Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Association of School Administrators, members are asking for the postponement of standardized tests this spring.

Nearly 700 school principals in the state signed the letter urging leaders to allow the waiver. Effingham Unit 40 superintendent Mark Doan accepts the request.

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“I’m not saying it’s not important, but is it that important now?” And I guess that’s where I’m referring to and I think that’s where most of your superintendents are also sitting at this point, ”Doan said.

Not all are in favor of canceling the tests. Meghan Whittaker, director of policy and advocacy at the National Center for Learning Disabilities, told ISBE in a meeting that assessments are essential for children with disabilities and another year of waiver would leave students further behind .

“Students with disabilities already have lower grades than their peers,” she said. “These assessments are a key ingredient as we strive to ensure all children progress during this time.”

Bloomington District 87 Schools Superintendent Barry Reilly says it is not possible to bring a large group of distance learners into the school for testing.

“Since we have almost 60% of our 6 to 12 year old students in a distance learning environment, trying to coordinate their participation in standardized tests over several days is just a logistical nightmare to ensure the security, ”Reilly said.

According to the Washington Post, more than 70 local, state and national organizations have signed a letter to President Joe Biden’s education secretary candidate Miguel Cardona, asking him to let states explore other ways to assess progress. of students this spring.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)

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