Why are schools around the nation opting out of state standardized testing during Covid? To some, it may come across as an act of compassion to cut students a break as they come back to equilibrium and pick up what they missed over the past year. In reality, it is a horrible, destructive effort to try to cover up the damage that’s been done to students all over the nation. They are removing these tests because they know the majority of the students will not pass, if not fail them. Will most students score poorly? Will certain demographics reveal statistically lower results? This is a major red flag as the government tries to cover up the chaos and lasting effects of a Covid with a bandaid.
In New Jersey
After a year of remote learning, millions of students of all ages around the nation have experienced a major setback, especially low-income students. As of early April this year, most New Jersey students can skip state tests this spring, according to the Biden administration in a letter to the state. Apparently, this decision was put in place to appease educators’ questions and concerns about the proper administration of these exams, which are now permitted to be taken online in some districts. Governor Murphy has successfully permitted the state to suspend all standardized testing for a second year. Proponents of shortening the length of standardized tests and pushing them to be accessible online claim that this will provide extra time much needed to help students catch up. Also, Biden’s administration feels students’ instruction time shouldn’t be interrupted by a test that is unreliable since students would be taking it from various locations.
Critics of this new test adjustment protest that regular state tests would be a thorough indicator of how far students have actually fallen behind and they should not be removed. Advocacy groups protest that we need state-mandated testing now more than ever so we can help students get to where they need to be and understand where they currently stand.
"Start Strong" Assessment in New Jersey
New Jersey has recently rolled out “Start Strong” tests, which act as a temporary replacement that provides faster data to educators. This exam was described as being designed to accelerate learning, allowing teachers to maximize instructional time. Last spring, an average of 10% of students (around 78,000 in Jersey schools) took the test in an effort to give teachers an idea of where students stand academically at this time. With this small population, results suggested that more than 1 in 3 students will require extra help and have fallen behind in both math and reading.
This fall, all districts will be required to administer the Start Strong test at the beginning of the school year which lasts 45-60 minutes and only requires one class period per subject. The test will be given to over 1 million students in grades 3-8 and those in high school across hundreds of districts in the state. The exam will have computer-scored items only, effectively reducing grading time and getting results faster. With that, there will be no writing section on the ELA portion of the exam. This is a problem.
What Is The Solution?
While the average person lacks control over what the government mandates and tells us, the only thing we could do is to act proactively in a way that best serves ourselves and our children. What does that mean? We know the average parent doesn’t have extra time to homeschool on top of working full-time.
After a year of learning remotely, we feel confident in saying it’s in your child’s best interest to leave the teaching up to a trained professional. Trust our passionate instructors at Math Genie to help your child get back on track or excel through the challenging curriculum their minds are craving.
Over the past few months, the students that come in for free assessments are on average two grade levels behind in both math and reading. Our assessments are carefully curated to reflect New Jersey state mandates. Over the past twelve years, we have developed customized lesson plans for each student, tailoring them to each need. Don’t let your child fall behind or fail to reach their full potential due to a lack of opportunities. Let us do the work. We love what we do.
Sign up for a free assessment at Math Genie today.
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