The current pandemic has blown apart the public education system as we knew it — simultaneously exacerbating vulnerabilities for many children and forcing rapid innovation to meet this instructional moment. The adults in this system must now focus on two things in response: The first is safety for kids and educators. The second is accelerating academic progress for all kids, regardless of race, ethnicity, or disability.
State standardized exams help parents, educators, and policymakers understand which students are on track — and who is falling behind — so that the adults can intervene to meet the needs of all students. This information is more crucial than ever given that COVID-19 upended traditional schooling. The following recommendations for federal and state policymakers, as well as school district leaders, will maximize the power of tests to support all children through and beyond this school year.