Testing Resistance & Reform News: April 21 -27, 2021

The Biden Administration's seemingly fickle decisions about standardized exam waivers has resulted in a patchwork quilt of spring 2021 assessment practices. Some states are not administering exams at all this academic year while others are allowing students to opt-out in large numbers without penalties. Elsewhere, particularly in many deep south and plains states, testing season looks much like "business as usual." 

There's no way that such inconsistent policies can produce data that is fair, reliable, and educationally meaningful.  It is increasingly clear that the inside-the-Beltway consensus requiring testing for the sake of testing is driven by politics and ideology not concerns about educational equity or quality. That's why FairTest's materials, strategic guidance and media savvy are so vital -- please help provide expanded resources for the opt-out and assessment reform movements by making your most generous possible contribution today.

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National Biden Administration's Inconsistent Standards for 2021 Exam Waivers
https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/biden-administrations-level-of-tolerance-for-cutting-standardized-tests-comes-into-focus/2021/04

National Federal Testing Mandates Fail to Improve Academic Quality or Educational Equity
https://www.techlearning.com/news/standardized-tests-fail-to-provide-evidence-for-student-success

Florida Local Teachers and Principals, Not State Tests, Will Determine Grade Promotion This Year
https://www.pnj.com/story/news/education/2021/04/20/escambia-santa-rosa-florida-schools-not-state-tests-teachers-principals-decide-if-kids-move-graduate/7286783002/

Indiana Remote Learners Choose to Opt Out of Standardized Exams
https://in.chalkbeat.org/2021/4/22/22398324/to-take-in-person-ilearn-tests-or-not-indiana-remote-learners-face-a-tough-choice

Louisiana Annual Exams Trigger New Debates on Use of School Test Results
https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/education/article_c5b59e08-a1fe-11eb-929e-1fd6b4cc1195.html

Massachusetts Say "No" to State Tests: See the Campaign Video, Live Stream, Fact Sheets, Petition, Etc
https://www.citizensforpublicschools.org/
 
Massachusetts High School Juniors Will Be Able to Graduate Without Passing State Test
https://www.masslive.com/boston/2021/04/massachusetts-high-school-juniors-can-graduate-without-taking-mcas-education-board-votes.html

Massachusetts Civil Rights Groups Hail Court Ruling Supporting Suspension of Selective High School Entrance Exam
https://www.baystatebanner.com/2021/04/22/civil-rights-groups-hail-historic-ruling-on-exam-schools/

Michigan Some Public Schools Allow Students to Say "No Thanks" to State Tests
https://www.bridgemi.com/talent-education/some-michigan-schools-allow-students-say-no-thanks-m-step-tests

Michigan School Tests Won't Tell a Full Story
https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2021/04/23/michigan-mstep-tests-results/7333558002/

New Mexico Very Few Students Plan to Sit For State Standardized 
https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/coronavirus/standardize-testing-waiver-approved-for-new-mexico-schools/article_22a2d14e-a6a0-11eb-b6d3-5f933786b149.html

New York State Exams Recycle Previously Administered Questions
https://ny.chalkbeat.org/2021/4/22/22398168/ny-recycles-state-test-questions-2021

New York Most Westchester County Students Refuse to Sit for State Tests
https://amp.recordonline.com/amp/7308911002

New York Teachers Union Reminds Parents About Right to Opt Out of Standardized Exams
https://cbs6albany.com/news/coronavirus/state-teachers-union-reminding-parents-of-right-to-opt-out-of-state-testing

Ohio Bipartisan Testing Reform Filed at State House
https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/Education/Article/Bill-would-combine-state-test-change-3rd-grade-reading-guarantee/2/75/68185

Ohio Legislators Seek to Eliminate 11th Grade ACT/SAT Test Taking Requirement
https://www.cleveland.com/open/2021/04/ohio-lawmakers-pushing-to-make-11th-grade-act-sat-tests-optional.html

Oregon Scaled-Back Testing Policies Range From Opt-In to Opt-Out
https://www.redmondspokesman.com/news/redmond-schools-plan-scaled-back-standardized-tests/article_d9dda304-a121-11eb-9d06-47f43ef594a3.html

Pennsylvania How to Opt Out of Spring 2021 State Tests
http://optoutpa.blogspot.com/

Texas Students and Educators Are Ready to Kick State Tests to the Curb
https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/in-texas-teachers-advocates-call-for-end-of-staar-testing-12009200

Wisconsin Milwaukee School Board Supports Testing Waiver
https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/milwaukee-public-schools-board-members-support-standardized-test-waiver-during-pandemic

University Admission ACT/SAT Scores Should No Longer Be Used in College Rankings
https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/colleges-average-sat-scores-should-no-longer-be-used-in-rankings/

University Admissions Amid Pandemic More Colleges and Universities Adopt Test-Optional Policies
https://news.yahoo.com/amid-pandemic-more-maine-universities-163000397.html

Worth Reading Standardized Testing During a Pandemic is Simply Ridiculous
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/4/21/2027031/-Standardized-Testing-during-a-Pandemic-is-Ridiculous?_=2021-04-21T16:58:23.000-07:00

Worth Reading "Learning Loss," in General, is a Misnomer: Students Are Making Progress
https://www.edweek.org/leadership/learning-loss-in-general-is-a-misnomer-study-shows-kids-made-progress-during-covid-19/2021/04
 
Worth Reading Ongoing Debate About Grade Retention Testing
https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/22/repeat-school-year-482336

Bob Schaeffer, Executive Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773    mobile-  (239) 699-0468
web-     https://fairtest.org