Vernon school officials learned late on March 17 that standardized testing will go forward next month, despite the state’s requests for waivers.
Assistant Superintendent Charles McKay said virtual students will be required to take the test at home unless the district finds a way to get them into the building. He said this presents four or five different hurdles for parents and district officials.
When a student gets the virtual test on a Chromebook, the test opens a “kiosk” application, in which the computer shuts down except for the test. The student can’t pull up any other screens.
“If a child is at home taking this test, once we give them a ticket to enter the kiosk and open the test – even if everything works – there won’t be anyone there except for parents,” McKay said.
McKay said the state is petitioning the federal government for a waiver so that schools don’t have to resort to this.
Standardized testing was canceled in 2019-20 because of school closures at the beginning of the pandemic. In normal times, students are usually in classrooms or larger areas. Standardized testing takes up to eight days while technology crews roam the buildings and fix anything that goes wrong.
“This is an entire process,” McKay said.
He said the state guidance uses “parent” and “proctor” interchangeably provides no guidance on opting-out.
Superintendent Karen D’Avino said with all the hurdles the district has faced, giving the standardized tests now doesn’t make sense. “We’ll work really hard to get this where it needs to be, and they could pull the rug out from under us at the last minute and say, ‘You don’t have to do it’, which is okay,” she said. “But I’m worried about the resources and the time and energy. It’s exhausting.”
The board of education president, Justin Annunziata, asked what’s being gained from the testing.
“We’ve done local assessments,” D’Avino said. “We know what learning loss is, so educators don’t feel a standardized measure is necessary because we know where our children are facing deficits.”
“We’ll work really hard to get this where it needs to be and they could pull the rug out from under us at the last minute and say, ‘You don’t have to do it’, which is okay. But I’m worried about the resources and the time and energy. It’s exhausting.” Superintendent Karen D’Avino