State Superintendent cancels state testing due to COVID-19

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Photo courtesy of Alberto G. on Flickr

Alya Mehrtash managing editor

Three state tests, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), English Learning Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) and Physical Fitness Testing (PFT), were cancelled by  California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting school closures. 

In a public statement, Senior Director of CAASPP/ELPAC Programs Jackie Strasz told local education agency (LEA) coordinators that “if your school is closed due to the unprecedented circumstances surrounding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), you should not worry about any statewide testing this school year.”

The BHUSD Education Services department had been “monitoring and advocating for the removal” of state assessments prior to Thurmond’s announcement according to Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Dustin Seemann. Seemann also advocated for other districts in California that may not be able to train their staff and students for such tests as easily as other districts.

We know that to deliver the state assessments, we would need to still train staff electronically and then train students. This is very difficult for our rural school districts in the state. It would not have been fair for some of us to test and not all,” he said.

While Education Services advocated for the suspension of state testing, Seemann acknowledged that such actions will impact the testing information available to the district.

“Canceling these tests has put us in a position [where] we no longer have data on students to identify educational gaps in their learning,” Seemann said. “I am working with our teachers to figure out a way to identify which grade level and content standards our students have not mastered to help include those into next year’s curriculum. This will be a lot of work over the summer so that we know all students in BHUSD have access and opportunity to master the standards set by the State of California.”

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