What if they gave a test and nobody came?
Parents, educators and students agree with the MTA: It’s time to cancel MCAS testing! High-stakes tests are problematic in any year, but they are especially damaging in the midst of a pandemic. This year, testing is diverting precious time and energy needed for teaching and supporting students just to tell us what we already know: The pandemic has negatively impacted them, especially low-income students of color. Administering the MCAS is a logistical nightmare. It also requires students to crowd into school buildings to take these tests, needlessly exposing them and staff to the coronavirus.
Last year, after schools across the country closed in March due to the pandemic, all 50 states applied for and received a federal waiver from testing. This year, state and federal bureaucrats are making it extremely difficult to cancel the tests outright.
Many states – though not Massachusetts – have signaled they want a waiver again. On Feb. 22, the Biden administration undermined that idea, announcing that waivers from administering the tests will not be granted, though flexibilities will.
The MTA and allies are continuing to fight by raising public awareness about the negative impact of high-stakes testing on students and by advocating for a bill to end the state’s MCAS-based high school competency determination forever.
If state and federal bureaucrats refuse to cancel the MCAS, parents can take charge to protect their children. They can opt out — refusing to let their children be subjected to this unnecessary, stressful and racially biased test in the middle of a pandemic.
Opting Out of High-Stakes Testing
Opting out, or refusing the test, is a powerful way to protest the misuse of high-stakes tests in Massachusetts public schools.
Get the facts on why testing is harmful to young children – as well as the right questions to ask.
Defending the Early Years and FairTest
Reason #1: Making major decisions based on standardized tests – has failed.
Citizens for Public Schools
Students’ test scores tell us more about the community they live in than what they know.
Christopher Tienken, Seton Hall U.