Have you heard about the campaign to cancel state testing in 2021? Over the past week, the social media movement gained momentum as teachers from all over the country have used the hashtag #cancelstatetesting2021 to share the reasons why students shouldn’t be subjected to standardized testing this year—and maybe ever.
Instagram users @thedaringenglishteacher, @love.tanesha, and @readitwriteitlearnit launched the campaign on March 1 “to urge the U.S. Department of Education to waive federal testing requirements this school year…and pause all testing. If the U.S. Department of Education waives state testing requirements again, students and teachers will have more opportunities to engage in rich learning experiences that empower and work to create life long learners, not one and done test takers.” Here’s how other teachers responded:
We’re In the Middle of a Pandemic
“We are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Let that sit in.
How would a test in the middle of a pandemic benefit our schools and communities? I have no magical powers, but I am sure tests will:
1️⃣not be in before the end of the school year, which isn’t helpful
2️⃣include “policing” students in their homes and lead to accusations of cheating
3️⃣show disparities between communities along the lines of race and class because testing bias is real
4️⃣not capture the learning that has occurred this year
5️⃣take valuable capital away from planning to safely open in the fall
6️⃣add to the stress of students and teachers already doing the most to survive
7️⃣reveal students haven’t made gains according to the made up standards
This is the perfect time for the country and pause and reevaluate our assessment and accountability systems with an equity lens. To be clear, it is important to have an accurate understanding of what students know and need. It’s time for a comprehensive response that brings all stakeholders together (e.g. students, families, leaders, teachers, ect.) to determine the best course of action given our current situation.” – @love.tanesha.
Focus on Instruction, Not Assessment
“State testing needs to be canceled this school year because we need to focus on instruction and not assessment during this global pandemic.” – @thedaringenglishteacher.
The Learning Loss Myth
“State testing needs to be canceled because our students are not numbers and learning loss is a myth created by test-makers (who view learning in extremely limiting ways)” – @iteachliteracy.
Prioritize Mental Health
“State testing needs to be cancelled because…
👉🏾Inconsistent instruction during this school year
👉🏾Some students have only received remote instruction this year
👉🏾There are equity issues involved with students testing at home via remote learning
👉🏾Students’ mental health should matter more than test scores
👉🏾Standardized tests are racially biased – source source source source
👉🏾Standardized tests do not truly measure growth and knowledge
👉🏾Standardized tests take away from school funding. Studies show that stated spend $1.7 billion dollars a year administering state tests.
👉🏾Administering the test takes 20-25 hours of instructional time.
👉🏾Tests cannot be safely, equitably, and fairly administered in all areas.
👉🏾Not administering tests provides time for educators to close achievement gaps and measure achievement in more innovative, holistic, and meaningful ways.” – @iamshan83.
Just Cancel It
We have done it once before, we can surely do it again. I’m joining the campaign because I believe it’s not what’s best for OUR KIDS.
We are still in a pandemic.
We are still pivoting.
We are still surviving.
I know about 100 different ways that our state money COULD BE spent rather than on state testing.
Why is this even a debate?” – @mrs.hoeyyy.in.6th.
What Will Standardized Tests in 2021 Even Prove?
“When the Biden administration decided NOT to cancel state tests, it marked my first disappointment in his presidency. (I was hoping to at least make it to Spring before that happened.)
The fact that state testing will happen despite:
1) we are in a literal pandemic
2) most children have not had face-to-face instruction all year
3) the inequities that exist within our schools is already profound and the GLOBAL PANDEMIC only made the gaps even worse
4) standardized tests in 2021 will prove what? Our students have deficiencies? 🤔 Um, yeah because we are in a PANDEMIC!” – @whimsyandrigor.
Students > Data
“I will always fight for what is best for my students. State testing needs to be canceled because since LAST SCHOOL YEAR, students have been subjected to inconsistent instructional time; there is an equity issue. Our students should matter more than the data we get from them.” – @thedanielsgram.
Kids Are Trying to Survive
“We are trying to survive during a pandemic. Kids are trying to survive a pandemic. Cancel state testing for their mental health!” – @anovohistory.
Standardized Testing Isn’t Accurate
“State testing needs to be cancelled because:
Standardized testing has never been an accurate measure of a students abilities.
Testing students during a pandemic is detrimental to their mental health.
There is no equitable way to administer a standardized test in an inequitable environment.
Education should be student centered, not data centered.” – @gotmyteacherfaceon.
Measurement Should be Holistic
Focus on Authentic Learning
“State testing needs to be cancelled because it’s time to focus on authentic learning experiences. Research shows that standardized testing narrows the curriculum, decreases the richness and student ownership of learning experiences, and leads to overall lower levels of long term understanding. For too long, testing has been used to punish and rank schools, teachers, and students, harming the most vulnerable. While this pandemic has proved to be one of the greatest challenges schools have faced, it also provides us with the opportunity to do better by our students.” – @readitwriteitlearnit.
They Don’t Need More Pressure
“State testing needs to be canceled because schools in areas that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic are still fully remote. Too many of these students still do not have reliable WiFi. When they can log in to class, they should connect and learn instead of being pressured to produce unreliable and unnecessary data.” – @teachergohome.
This is NOT a Normal School Year
“1. Standardized tests do not accurately assess the knowledge of my students.
2. This is NOT a normal school year.
3. We should prioritize enriching and engaging lessons for our students, not teaching to a test.
4. This is NOT a normal school year.
5. Students should not be subjected to the monopoly that was created due to the test.
6. This is NOT a normal school year.
7. Students and teachers mental health should be prioritize.
8. This is NOT a normal school year.
9. Teachers should be treated as true professionals who will determine if their students are prepared for the next grade level.
10. This is NOT a normal school year!
11. Our students brains should not determine a school districts funding from the government.
12. This is NOT a normal school year.
While the data collected from standardized tests are not accurate pictures of what our students know, if students test this year, it will show accurately,
-That our students are dealing with a lot this year. A pandemic, social unrest, rioters storming the capital and the very essence of our democracy threatened, political division, adults that are supposed to be running the country in all aspects acting like children bickering, a Texas Snowpocalypse, remote learning, in person learning with many restrictions, the death of loved ones from Covid.
-That teachers need to be valued professionals, respected, and supported.
-That public education should be funded appropriately and valued.
– That online learning is not the same as face to face, in person learning and anyone trying to move that direction is setting our country up for failure.” – @connershistorycorner.
It Wastes Time and Money
“State testing needs to be canceled because it is a waste. We don’t have the time to waste on testing – as a teacher I would spend over 2 weeks administering state exams each spring. We don’t have the money to waste on testing. School budgets are being slashed and we are spending 10s of millions of dollars on tests.
⏰💰” – @teachingeternity.
Let’s Extend Grace
“It’s time to cancel state testing. This year we told kids you are more than a score that they mattered and yet we will bring them back to a classroom to test? Think about equity, resources, and the challenges so many students faced and continue to face. This is not the year, this is not the time.” – @mrsotogo.
It’s Educational Malpractice
“We teach our kids to value diversity. We celebrate it. We value equity. We see it in our classrooms every day.
But we still have a problem.
Our state standards lack diversity which means the educational system itself does not reflect our values.
How do we expect children to engage and invest in education when the system lacks representation? And truth.
How do we expect young women to be inspired when we continue to dominate the landscape with the history of white men?
Why are we not rewriting standards that reflect our values?
When we deny diversity in education it is educational malpractice and we need to demand change.
👇🏻 what would you like to see in the standards / or textbooks that are consistently being left out?” – @education_with_davison.
We’ve Lost Enough Time
“Teachers and students have overcome so many battles since March of 2020. Everyone has. We are fighting every. single. day. to make up time we’ve lost 🕑
All we want is to continue teaching our kids. Please 💗” – @shullsbookshelf.
Standardized Tests Are Inequitable
Kinesthetic Learners Have Struggled
“State testing needs to be canceled because the students who learn with their hands had difficulties with online learning this year.” – @anshribli.
It Ignores Students’ Social Emotional Needs
“We need to cancel state testing this year. Time is better spent helping students recover from a very difficult year.” – @middleschoolcafe.
Standardized Tests Are Racially Biased
“State testing needs to be cancelled because standardized tests are racially bias.
Links in my profile to articles that support this. Tag your governor, law makers, and teacher unions.” – @anovohistory.
Prioritize Student and Educator Mental Health
“🙄 I have to admit I was so disappointed to hear that states are expected to go along with state testing like things are normal.
🛑 But stop… things are NOT normal.
🧠 We NEED to prioritize student AND educator mental health. Kids deserve it and educators deserve it.
✏ I rallied behind this idea last year and I will continue to advocate now. We need to cancel state testing this year. Let me know if you agree.” – @pathway2success1.
We Need Time to Teach
“breaking out my teacher face for this rant…
State testing needs to be cancelled because I have already spent TWENTY TWO instructional hours this school year administering standardized testing OVER ZOOM. My admin have carved out 14 MORE hours in April for iLEARN, and I’ll have to administer NWEA taking up another 6 hours in May. The state is requiring that we do iLEARN in person. Yep. You read that right. At the beginning of this school year I had 29 virtual students. I have fewer now, but I know many teachers are working with higher numbers still. All of my students will have to come into my classroom, where they can ~maybe~ be 2 feet apart, for 7 days of testing, even though their families opted for e-learning to keep them safe this year.
There are MANY reasons iLEARN should be cancelled (like, forever, but especially right now). We need to value students’ well being over useless data. Teachers already collect data and use formal and informal assessments throughout the school year. AND I NEED TIME TO TEACH.” – @teachingwithteej.
Testing Never Measures True Abilities
“State testing needs to be cancelled because…
• This school year has been ANYTHING but standard.
• Standardized tests NEVER measure the true abilities of students.
• We’re in the middle of a PANDEMIC.” – @mstangteaches.
Students. Are. Humans.
“State testing needs to be canceled because the tests, which are inequitable and racially biased even in a normal year, will yield even less significant data in a year of inconsistent instruction. Some students are in the building, some are at home, some are shuttling back and forth, and some aren’t checking in at all. We’re still in a pandemic, friends! Our students are still juggling feelings of anxiety, stress, isolation, and fear. And now we want to toss a standardized test at them, too?
I hear the argument that we need to see the educational impact of the pandemic. But the humans in our room and on our zoom calls are more important than a data point. They’re more important than the content and skills we want them to master. And their mental health matters.” – @choice_voice_teach.
It’s Culturally Biased
“State testing needs to be canceled because it’s culturally biased, centering the dominant & privileged groups and we are surviving a global pandemic. It’s as if to shame students for not being enough when we do not take into consideration the social structures that impact marginalized students.” – @clasedecalvillo.
Our Students Are Worth More
“How do we still NOT understand this? We’ve known that standardized tests of all kinds have been proven to be inequitable measures of student learning for a very long time now. So why have we regressed back into this old way of thinking? I was hoping the pandemic would help us learn and embrace new, better forms of student achievement, but here we are. Again.” – @mudandinkteaching.
They’ve Learned Bigger Lessons
“THIS. ALL OF THIS. 👏🏼
We have officially started “testing season” here in Florida, which means our calendar is filled with test prep from now through May.
Our students deserve better. 💔” – @_reyesrules.
It Does Not Truly Measure Growth
“Standardized tests do not truly measure growth and knowledge. We need to cancel state testing this year. We must do better in the midst of a global pandemic.” – @anovohistory.
There Are Better Ways to Learn
State testing needs to be canceled because… for too long prepping for state testing means taking time away from courses and lessons in social studies and history. The skills and knowledge students learn in these classes are essential to making well-rounded and informed citizens. They will also be the citizens who vote you in or out of office and vote on policies that will impact you.” – @teaching_historyinheels.
Kids Before Content
“To quote the great Moira Rose, “I have never heard someone say so many wrong things, one after the the other, consecutively, in a row.”
For months now, we’ve been discussing the importance of social, emotional, and mental health for our students. We’ve been focusing on helping them navigate a global pandemic to the best of our abilities, something that was not covered in our preservice education courses.
State testing needs to be cancelled. The tests are full of racial bias and will only cause more anxiety, fear, and stress for our students and our teachers. This entire year has been inequitable for many and we cannot fairly see where “children are left behind”.
@potus, in your campaign you promised us that you would eliminate standardized testing. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to reevaluate and change the direction of our education system.” – @teachingintheflx.
No Data Is Better Than Bad Data
”Cancel the dang tests.
Hi, me again. With more opinions.
It’s WILD to me that states are even thinking standardized testing this year. WILD. Let me say it again. W-I-L-D.
Nothing has been normal about this year, so why should we administer standardized tests and act like they are?! Not only do standardized tests take up obscene amounts of time (25 hours just to GIVE the test), but this year the data will be inaccurate and unhelpful. Yet, if it’s collected people will still attempt to use this data to make decisions. Which is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous. Make it make sense!” – @smarterteaching.
We Should Use Our Time Wisely
“State testing needs to be canceled because… many students haven’t been in the school building since March 2020 & when we return we shouldn’t use that time to proctor a racially biased test!
…we should use our time with students to actually close achievement gaps and measure achievement in more holistic & meaningful ways.
…students are more than a score on a test.
…we are in a PANDEMIC!” – @shannons_fitish_life.
They Don’t Tell The Whole Story
“It’s been almost one year since the start of this wild Covid-19 ride. When reflecting on this journey, we’ve come such a long way. Students have learned a new way of learning while we’ve learned a new way of teaching.
Along the way they’ve been faced with unprecedented event after unprecedented event….however, they continue to show up. We continue to teach and they continue to learn.
Am I where I normally am in the curriculum this time on a normal year? Nope. Have my students learned more in life than most 6th graders? Yup. Will the state assessment take into consideration all of the extenuating circumstances of this year? Nope.
I’m proud of my students. I’m proud of my colleagues. We don’t need the pressure of the state assessment bearing down on educators and students.” – @illuminating_literacy.
The Cons Outweigh the Pros
“Cancel standardized tests/state tests.
RACIST: As Young Whan Choi, Manager of Performance Assessments Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, California, explains, “Too often, test designers rely on questions which assume background knowledge more often held by White, middle-class students. It’s not just that the designers have unconscious racial bias; the standardized testing industry depends on these kinds of biased questions in order to create a wide range of scores.”
CLASSIST: as Eloy Ortiz Oakley, MBA, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, points out, “Many well-resourced students have far greater access to test preparation, tutoring and taking the test multiple times, opportunities not afforded the less affluent… [T]hese admissions tests are a better measure of students’ family background and economic status than of their ability to succeed” (this is talking more about the SAT and other standardized tests, but could be applied to this as well when we think about kids that have been tutored on how to take tests).
SEXIST: Girls tend to do less well than boys and perform better on questions with open-ended answers, according to a 2018 study by Stanford University’s Sean Reardon, which found that test format alone accounts for 25 percent of the gender difference in performance in both reading and math. Researchers hypothesize that one explanation for the gender difference on high-stakes tests is risk aversion, meaning girls tend to guess less.”
All info is from: https://standardizedtests.procon.org which gives some of the pros and the cons.
These cons HEAVILY outweigh the pros.” – @makingastatementinsped.
How Is This Good for Students?
“State testing needs to be cancelled because we’re all just being set up for failure. Teaching and learning has not been standard so there’s really no way a standardized test can be appropriate. How is this testing good for students?” – @mrsspanglerinthemiddle.
There Are Better Ways to Spend Money
3️⃣Inconsistent Instruction. Enough said.
4️⃣Standardized tests do not truly measure student growth (in this year, or any year).
5️⃣There are so many better ways we could spend 1.7 BILLION dollars a year.” – @giraffic_jam_tpt.
“L E T ‘S B E H O N E S T
I understand that standardized assessments give stakeholders an idea of where a child, school, and district are performing.
State testing needs to be canceled because in school, every year and especially this year, teachers differentiate their instruction in order to meet kids where they are. If we as teachers differentiate to each student, why are students receiving a standardized test to show what they know? A standardized assessment does not measure what a child, school, and district have learned. Normally, the negatives are what’s highlighted.” – @tawnimaikalani.
“Our kids are living through a pandemic. You can’t say their social emotional health is important and then force them to take these tests!” – @teachingbelle.
“State testing needs to be canceled because… There should not be a one size fits all measurement of student learning for a system that pushes differentiated instruction. Testing takes away time from valuable instructional minutes, aka the learning that testing is supposed to measure…Testing is stressful for students and teachers.
We should focus on student (and teacher) mental health, rather than gauging how much they have lost. Some have lost more than others. They don’t need to demonstrate that for anyone. They know, and we know. They will be ok, as long as we provide them with the support they need and eliminate added stressors, like unnecessary tests!” – @adhdteach.
<”State testing needs to be canceled. FULL STOP. Throughout this pandemic, the inequities that exist in our education system have been even more glaring. To force students to complete testing would add more trauma to the laundry list of experiences that students have had to deal with in the past year. Here in NYC, we have not met the most basic needs of students by even ensuring that all students have access to WiFi and adequate devices to keep up with their learning- to say nothing of the trauma of watching families and loved ones struggle with their health, their well-being, and their ability to stay financially afloat. We cannot expect students to learn when their most basic needs aren’t being met.” – @thereaderreport.