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Some Colorado educators raise questions about standardized testing during the pandemic

Some teachers raise questions on state testing during pandemic.
Some teachers raise questions on state testing during pandemic.(AP Images)
Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:02 PM MST
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DENVER, Colo. (KKTV) - The Colorado Education Association along with other educators in the state are raising questions about holding annual standardized testing during the pandemic. The union discussed the possible issues in a press conference on Thursday. The group is pleading to lawmakers to postpone this year’s testing. Some teachers worry the testing will deter from critical learning time that was lost due to the unpredictability of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colorado Measure of Academic Sucess, or “CMAS,” is the annual test for 3rd through 8th graders. It test mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. The state says even if this year’s scores aren’t perfect, they’ll still help target support and resources to students who may have fallen behind.

The Pikes Peak Area Superintendent Association is on board with the idea of leaving the test behind this year. Several factors concern them including distributing the test in a way that still follows COVID-19 protocols, as well as having to bring students who are home back in the classroom for several days to take the test.

“In order to administer the test to keep our cohorts in separate and to space students out enough, we would basically have to shut down in-person learning for about three weeks. We feel like we’ve had enough of shutting down in-person learning,” said Peter Hilts, President of Pikes Peak Area Superintendents and CEO at District 49.

Some educators also believe if the test goes on as planned, many students might just opt-out of taking it which is an option. If that happens they fear test results would show inconsistent results with unreliable conclusions.

“We would rather use the limited time that we have of the school year to do in-person instruction, tutoring, interventions, and support for students,” said Hilts.

The Pikes Peak Area Superintendents say they have also heard from community members and families about their concerns saying they would rather their children stay in school and bridge the gaps they may have experienced while switching from in-person to at-home learning so often.

“They don’t need to take time away to do state testing when they are already doing appropriate, local teacher lead, classroom bases assessments and that’s what we need to give our students, the best learning possible in this very disruptive year,” said Hilts.

According to the Colorado Department of Education, state legislatures are set to make a decision on the test at the end of February.

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