School closures force cancellation of standardized tests

April 10, 2020 — by Andy Chen

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing schools around the nation to shut down in-person education, on-site assessments have also been put on hold. Standardized tests under the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) have been canceled.

Among these tests are the Smarter Balanced Assessment Curriculum (SBAC), California Science Test (CAST) and Physical Fitness Test (PFT), given to juniors, seniors and freshmen, respectively. While many students and teachers often dread taking and administering these assessments, these tests — especially the SBAC — are important in evaluating student mastery of Common Core standards, said assistant principal Rick Ellis, the school’s head testing administrator.

Typically, the SBAC evaluates students’ proficiency in math and English, the CAST tests students’ proficiency in science and the PFT tests students’ athletic ability.

According to Ellis, students won’t directly feel the impact of standardized tests’ cancelations; rather, these changes will hinder schools on a statewide level.

“Results of the SBAC, CAST and PFT are used to tell schools and families how students are doing compared to state averages and similar schools,” he said. “Schools use the results to find out where students are doing well and where they might be struggling, with the hopes of always improving instruction. This will not be the case this year.”

While these assessments are important to both school and statewide education, the California Department of Education (CDE) has no plans to implement substitutes to the test.

“There are currently no alternatives,” Ellis said. “Tests have simply been canceled this year due to the coronavirus and subsequent school closures.”