The end of the year is normally reserved for parties, P.E. free days, and almost zero homework. This is well deserved, as the weeks leading up to this period of tranquility are hectic, filled with tests, studying, and homework. Now, the 2020-2021 school year has not been a normal year; far from it. We didn’t have a single P.E. free day, teachers were more lenient, and instead of walking, driving, or biking to school, we sat down at our desks, eating cereal while paying attention to class. Tests too have changed, but the largest test of all, the SBAC test might not. Here’s why.
Many students and teachers dread the SBAC tests yearly (check out this article on why the SBAC test should be canceled), and many were hoping for a break from it. Honestly, I was in this camp, and I still don’t want to take it, but I realize that it is necessary. After some thought, I hope that you realize that it is imperative for the state to enforce SBAC testing.
Firstly, it is of utmost importance for students, teachers, and schools to be able to judge how well they are doing academically. For students, they need to know what they don’t know. Students will also be able to see how they have improved over the years. For teachers, the information is vital to judging students’ performance. One could say that quizzes serve the same purpose, but many students study just for these quizzes, and the information that they learned goes away after a few days. An end-of-the-year test will be able to tell teachers what students actually retained, and what they themselves can improve on in terms of teaching. Schools need to know how well they have fared over the pandemic, and where to allocate resources.
Secondly, the state needs to be able to know how certain demographics have fared through the pandemic. Through test results, economists can determine if, for example, the poor have been able to survive, and perhaps even thrived in these uncertain times.
In conclusion, the state should not wave the SBAC test requirement. The SBAC test will allow people of all backgrounds to assess how they have done over the pandemic. Just remember, this pandemic won’t be the last one. The information that we can gain from one common assessment is invaluable to be able to survive the next pandemic.