Why Standards Still Matter for the New School Year

Published: June 22, 2020, 3 p.m.

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Last week, Governor Kemp and the Georgia DOE submitted a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education for the suspension of the 2020-21 Georgia Milestones assessment and CCRPI school and district rating, becoming the first state in the nation to request such a waiver for the upcoming school year.

Although it’s still early, I fully expect to see other states follow Georgia’s lead in requesting waivers for high-stakes testing.

As a Georgia-based company that serves schools nationwide, we are supportive of any state’s request to suspend high-stakes testing. After the disruptions of this past spring, we don’t see a fair way to immediately resume the existing high-stakes testing regime. Students and teachers need a reasonable period to restart learning and instruction, and potentially the expectations for--and stakes associated with--test results need to be rethought.

However, even without testing, state standards will remain more important than ever.

Standards serve as a common and unbiased measure of student learning throughout the year. Assessing students on learning gaps, by standard, at the beginning of the school year will provide teachers with a clear roadmap for where their focus should lie. Likewise, standards will help teachers answer every parent’s question of, “How is my child doing?”

The 2020-21 school year will be like no other. Teachers will focus on remediation and growth as they work to overcome “COVID-slide.” It is the continued use of standards, however, that will allow us to know where to begin with our students, as well as provide unbiased validation for how they are progressing throughout the year.

As educators, we need to keep standards at the forefront of learning.

When testing does resume, our students will be ready.

Sincerely,

Will Clemens, CEO

USATestprep, LLC


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