California Board of Education declares testing flexibility for spring 2021


Kaelyn Savard

A new statement released by the California Department of Education in regards to CAASPP testing states that there is an element of flexibility in the test’s distribution. Schools have the option of customizing the assessment as long as it still meets common core requirements, and produces concrete results.

Caroline Hubner, Reporter

On March 16, the California Department of Education released a statement informing the public of the California Board of Education’s decision to expand state testing flexibility for the spring of 2021. This change could impact juniors at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) who would usually be required to take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) along with other standardized tests such as the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) tests. 

The newly announced testing flexibility would allow for districts and individual schools to create their own diagnostic, benchmark or interim tests to gauge student progress during remote learning. As long as the tests are administered for grades 3-8 and 11, uniformly by grade-level, school and district, address common core topics and provide reportable results, school districts have the freedom to customize the assessments.

Questions have arisen as to whether the California Board of Education could waive standardized test requirements like they did last spring, but the federal government created a compliance template that rules out that option completely. 

Additionally, the Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states who receive funding for low-income or English language learning students must assess progress in language arts, math, science and English language proficiency every year to maintain that funding. California is one of these states that receives funding, meaning that they must have a way to test students. 

The introduction of this testing flexibility is to ease concerns surrounding requiring students to do extensive state testing before they have had the opportunity to fully readjust to in-person instruction. Since most schools in California will be returning by April 1, the California Board of Education wanted to make it clear that students should not be brought back to campuses solely to participate in standardized testing. 

State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond stated, “While there are benefits to providing a snapshot look at how our students have been affected academically by the pandemic, we all know that the social-emotional health of our students and their reattachment to a caring school environment must come first.”

It is still unclear whether Foothill Tech teachers and administrators will choose to use the CAASPP test this spring or opt to create their own benchmarks for students.

What do you think?