TULSA, Okla. — This school year has been anything but normal for students, but one thing they can count on is standardized testing.
The state decided not to do its spring assessments when students were sent to learn from home at the beginning of the pandemic last year. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said that's why it's needed this year.
The call to continue with testing despite the challenges of the pandemic comes from the federal level. Hofmeister said it evaluates all students, including those from underserved communities or those in special circumstances.
“Like children in poverty or English learners," she said. "They have federal protection and this is part of a civil rights check with students. In order to do that we must measure all students.”
Hofmeister said this year won’t be like other years and there will be flexibility in the way scores are used in the future.
“But, it’s particularly important this year as we’re really setting a new baseline for where our students are and where we’re going to grow from this point in the future years," Hofmeister said.
However, some are not happy about following through with the testing. Shawna Mott-Wright, president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, said teachers do not create these tests and they’re unfairly written.
“When the tests are already written disproportionately and adversely affect our minorities," Mott-Wright said. "It's a huge issue. No, I want tests that are going to make sense to my kids.”
Mott-Wright also has two children in Tulsa Public Schools. She said, in this abnormal year, the tests will be an inaccurate snapshot of student learning.
“Here it is, coming in at the end of the year when we’re finally able to sustain some in-person learning," Mott-Wright said. "That’s not diagnostic. That’s not going to make sense to the kids. Pointless"
The State Department of Education said these spring assessments are required, but they understand circumstances may not allow all students to be tested.
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