Schools were in emergency mode as they closed campuses in March, many students were without the tools for remote learning, let alone remote testing, and the academic year was a hot mess.
Although the current school year has been better, the repeated refrain nationwide has been that student learning has been disrupted and uneven, a cohort of students ever further behind. There has even been talk of holding everyone back a grade.
Time to stop talking and see where we are—not to judge the performance of schools, teachers or students, but to gather crucial information about what has happened to learning during a still-chaotic year.
And wisely, that’s what the Biden administration plans to do. The Department of Education announced Monday that the tests will go forward again this year, though the results won’t be held against schools whose performance falls short.
The annual standardized tests will provide badly needed data to determine whether the level of learning is as grim as expected, who is faring worst and by how much. It will set a much-needed foundation for deciding who needs intensive summer educational programs and other interventions to ensure that this generation of students doesn’t become lost.