Have you heard about the campaign to cancel state testing in 2021? Over the past week, the social media movement gained momentum as teachers from all over the country have used the hashtag #cancelstatetesting2021 to share the reasons why students shouldn’t be subjected to standardized testing this year—and maybe ever.

Instagram users @thedaringenglishteacher, @love.tanesha, and @readitwriteitlearnit launched the campaign on March 1 “to urge the U.S. Department of Education to waive federal testing requirements this school year…and pause all testing. If the U.S. Department of Education waives state testing requirements again, students and teachers will have more opportunities to engage in rich learning experiences that empower and work to create life long learners, not one and done test takers.” Here’s how other teachers responded:

We’re In the Middle of a Pandemic

Teaching holding sign in classroom to support canceling state testing in 2021

“We are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Let that sit in.
•••
How would a test in the middle of a pandemic benefit our schools and communities? I have no magical powers, but I am sure tests will:
1️⃣not be in before the end of the school year, which isn’t helpful
2️⃣include “policing” students in their homes and lead to accusations of cheating
3️⃣show disparities between communities along the lines of race and class because testing bias is real
4️⃣not capture the learning that has occurred this year
5️⃣take valuable capital away from planning to safely open in the fall
6️⃣add to the stress of students and teachers already doing the most to survive
7️⃣reveal students haven’t made gains according to the made up standards
•••
This is the perfect time for the country and pause and reevaluate our assessment and accountability systems with an equity lens. To be clear, it is important to have an accurate understanding of what students know and need. It’s time for a comprehensive response that brings all stakeholders together (e.g. students, families, leaders, teachers, ect.) to determine the best course of action given our current situation.” – @love.tanesha.

Focus on Instruction, Not Assessment

Teacher holding sign encouraging us to focus on instruction instead of assessment

“State testing needs to be canceled this school year because we need to focus on instruction and not assessment during this global pandemic.” – @thedaringenglishteacher.

The Learning Loss Myth

Teacher holding sign about the myth of learning loss to support canceling state testing in 2021

“State testing needs to be canceled because our students are not numbers and learning loss is a myth created by test-makers (who view learning in extremely limiting ways)” – @iteachliteracy.

Prioritize Mental Health

Teaching holding sign on sidewalk in support of cancel state testing campaign

“State testing needs to be cancelled because…

👉🏾Inconsistent instruction during this school year
👉🏾Some students have only received remote instruction this year
👉🏾There are equity issues involved with students testing at home via remote learning
👉🏾Students’ mental health should matter more than test scores
👉🏾Standardized tests are racially biased – source source source source
👉🏾Standardized tests do not truly measure growth and knowledge
👉🏾Standardized tests take away from school funding. Studies show that stated spend $1.7 billion dollars a year administering state tests.
👉🏾Administering the test takes 20-25 hours of instructional time.
👉🏾Tests cannot be safely, equitably, and fairly administered in all areas.
👉🏾Not administering tests provides time for educators to close achievement gaps and measure achievement in more innovative, holistic, and meaningful ways.” – @iamshan83.

Just Cancel It

Teaching holding up sign stating standardized tests aren't in the best interest of kids

“CANCEL IT…

We have done it once before, we can surely do it again. I’m joining the campaign because I believe it’s not what’s best for OUR KIDS.

We are still in a pandemic.

We are still pivoting.

We are still surviving.

I know about 100 different ways that our state money COULD BE spent rather than on state testing.

Why is this even a debate?” – @mrs.hoeyyy.in.6th.

What Will Standardized Tests in 2021 Even Prove?

Sign in support of cancel state testing movement

“When the Biden administration decided NOT to cancel state tests, it marked my first disappointment in his presidency. (I was hoping to at least make it to Spring before that happened.)

The fact that state testing will happen despite:

1) we are in a literal pandemic
2) most children have not had face-to-face instruction all year
3) the inequities that exist within our schools is already profound and the GLOBAL PANDEMIC only made the gaps even worse
4) standardized tests in 2021 will prove what? Our students have deficiencies? 🤔 Um, yeah because we are in a PANDEMIC!” – @whimsyandrigor.

Students > Data

Sign that says students are more important than data

“I will always fight for what is best for my students. State testing needs to be canceled because since LAST SCHOOL YEAR, students have been subjected to inconsistent instructional time; there is an equity issue. Our students should matter more than the data we get from them.” – @thedanielsgram.

Kids Are Trying to Survive

Teacher holds sign asking to cancel state testing for the mental health of kids

“We are trying to survive during a pandemic. Kids are trying to survive a pandemic. Cancel state testing for their mental health!” – @anovohistory.

Standardized Testing Isn’t Accurate

Teacher holding sign to support canceling state testing

“State testing needs to be cancelled because:

Standardized testing has never been an accurate measure of a students abilities.
Testing students during a pandemic is detrimental to their mental health.
There is no equitable way to administer a standardized test in an inequitable environment.
Education should be student centered, not data centered.” – @gotmyteacherfaceon.

Measurement Should be Holistic

cancel-state-testing-measurement-should-be-holistic

@msalexandriamartin.

Focus on Authentic Learning

Teacher holding sign to support state testing being cancelled in 2021

“State testing needs to be cancelled because it’s time to focus on authentic learning experiences. Research shows that standardized testing narrows the curriculum, decreases the richness and student ownership of learning experiences, and leads to overall lower levels of long term understanding. For too long, testing has been used to punish and rank schools, teachers, and students, harming the most vulnerable. While this pandemic has proved to be one of the greatest challenges schools have faced, it also provides us with the opportunity to do better by our students.” – @readitwriteitlearnit.

They Don’t Need More Pressure

Instagram post highlighting why teachers want to cancel testing of students in 2021

“State testing needs to be canceled because schools in areas that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic are still fully remote. Too many of these students still do not have reliable WiFi. When they can log in to class, they should connect and learn instead of being pressured to produce unreliable and unnecessary data.⁣” – @teachergohome.

This is NOT a Normal School Year

Teacher holds sign stating that students are not cash machines

“1. Standardized tests do not accurately assess the knowledge of my students.
2. This is NOT a normal school year.
3. We should prioritize enriching and engaging lessons for our students, not teaching to a test.
4. This is NOT a normal school year.
5. Students should not be subjected to the monopoly that was created due to the test.
6. This is NOT a normal school year.
7. Students and teachers mental health should be prioritize.
8. This is NOT a normal school year.
9. Teachers should be treated as true professionals who will determine if their students are prepared for the next grade level.
10. This is NOT a normal school year!
11. Our students brains should not determine a school districts funding from the government.
12. This is NOT a normal school year.

While the data collected from standardized tests are not accurate pictures of what our students know, if students test this year, it will show accurately,
-That our students are dealing with a lot this year. A pandemic, social unrest, rioters storming the capital and the very essence of our democracy threatened, political division, adults that are supposed to be running the country in all aspects acting like children bickering, a Texas Snowpocalypse, remote learning, in person learning with many restrictions, the death of loved ones from Covid.
-That teachers need to be valued professionals, respected, and supported.
-That public education should be funded appropriately and valued.
– That online learning is not the same as face to face, in person learning and anyone trying to move that direction is setting our country up for failure.” – @connershistorycorner.

It Wastes Time and Money

Instagram image of sign stating that state testing wastes time and money

“State testing needs to be canceled because it is a waste. We don’t have the time to waste on testing – as a teacher I would spend over 2 weeks administering state exams each spring. We don’t have the money to waste on testing. School budgets are being slashed and we are spending 10s of millions of dollars on tests.
⏰💰” – @teachingeternity.

Let’s Extend Grace

Teacher holds sign encouraging grace for students instead of state testing

“It’s time to cancel state testing. This year we told kids you are more than a score that they mattered and yet we will bring them back to a classroom to test? Think about equity, resources, and the challenges so many students faced and continue to face. This is not the year, this is not the time.” – @mrsotogo.

It’s Educational Malpractice

Sign describing the potential damage of state testing kids

“We teach our kids to value diversity. We celebrate it. We value equity. We see it in our classrooms every day.

But we still have a problem.
Our state standards lack diversity which means the educational system itself does not reflect our values.

How do we expect children to engage and invest in education when the system lacks representation? And truth.

How do we expect young women to be inspired when we continue to dominate the landscape with the history of white men?

Why are we not rewriting standards that reflect our values?

When we deny diversity in education it is educational malpractice and we need to demand change.

👇🏻 what would you like to see in the standards / or textbooks that are consistently being left out?” – @education_with_davison.

We’ve Lost Enough Time

Teacher holds up sign stating that we've lost enough time in the classroom

“Teachers and students have overcome so many battles since March of 2020. Everyone has. We are fighting every. single. day. to make up time we’ve lost 🕑

All we want is to continue teaching our kids. Please 💗” – @shullsbookshelf.

Standardized Tests Are Inequitable

Sign indicating the importance of mental health over state testing

@msschaake.

Kinesthetic Learners Have Struggled

Teacher holds up sign to cancel state testing in 2021

“State testing needs to be canceled because the students who learn with their hands had difficulties with online learning this year.” – @anshribli.

It Ignores Students’ Social Emotional Needs

Sign promoting student social emotional needs over standardized testing

“We need to cancel state testing this year. Time is better spent helping students recover from a very difficult year.” – @middleschoolcafe.

Standardized Tests Are Racially Biased

Teacher holding sign about the racial bias of standardized testing

“State testing needs to be cancelled because standardized tests are racially bias.

Links in my profile to articles that support this. Tag your governor, law makers, and teacher unions.” – @anovohistory.

Prioritize Student and Educator Mental Health

Sign prioritizing teacher and student mental health over testing

“🙄 I have to admit I was so disappointed to hear that states are expected to go along with state testing like things are normal.⁣

🛑 But stop… things are NOT normal.

🧠 We NEED to prioritize student AND educator mental health. Kids deserve it and educators deserve it.

✏ I rallied behind this idea last year and I will continue to advocate now. We need to cancel state testing this year. Let me know if you agree.” – @pathway2success1.

We Need Time to Teach

Teacher holding a sign to cancel state testing

“breaking out my teacher face for this rant…

State testing needs to be cancelled because I have already spent TWENTY TWO instructional hours this school year administering standardized testing OVER ZOOM. My admin have carved out 14 MORE hours in April for iLEARN, and I’ll have to administer NWEA taking up another 6 hours in May. The state is requiring that we do iLEARN in person. Yep. You read that right. At the beginning of this school year I had 29 virtual students. I have fewer now, but I know many teachers are working with higher numbers still. All of my students will have to come into my classroom, where they can ~maybe~ be 2 feet apart, for 7 days of testing, even though their families opted for e-learning to keep them safe this year.

There are MANY reasons iLEARN should be cancelled (like, forever, but especially right now). We need to value students’ well being over useless data. Teachers already collect data and use formal and informal assessments throughout the school year. AND I NEED TIME TO TEACH.” – @teachingwithteej.

Testing Never Measures True Abilities

Sign urging the cancelation of state testing for students

“State testing needs to be cancelled because…

  • This school year has been ANYTHING but standard.
  • Standardized tests NEVER measure the true abilities of students.
  • We’re in the middle of a PANDEMIC.” – @mstangteaches.

Students. Are. Humans.

Teacher holding sign in support of canceling state testing

“State testing needs to be canceled because the tests, which are inequitable and racially biased even in a normal year, will yield even less significant data in a year of inconsistent instruction. Some students are in the building, some are at home, some are shuttling back and forth, and some aren’t checking in at all. We’re still in a pandemic, friends! Our students are still juggling feelings of anxiety, stress, isolation, and fear. And now we want to toss a standardized test at them, too?

I hear the argument that we need to see the educational impact of the pandemic. But the humans in our room and on our zoom calls are more important than a data point. They’re more important than the content and skills we want them to master. And their mental health matters.” – @choice_voice_teach.

It’s Culturally Biased

Sign that says standardized tests are culturally biased

“State testing needs to be canceled because it’s culturally biased, centering the dominant & privileged groups and we are surviving a global pandemic. It’s as if to shame students for not being enough when we do not take into consideration the social structures that impact marginalized students.” – @clasedecalvillo.

Our Students Are Worth More

Teacher holding sign about canceling state tests

“How do we still NOT understand this? We’ve known that standardized tests of all kinds have been proven to be inequitable measures of student learning for a very long time now. So why have we regressed back into this old way of thinking? I was hoping the pandemic would help us learn and embrace new, better forms of student achievement, but here we are. Again.” – @mudandinkteaching.

They’ve Learned Bigger Lessons

Teacher sign about state tests during pandemic

“THIS. ALL OF THIS. 👏🏼

We have officially started “testing season” here in Florida, which means our calendar is filled with test prep from now through May.

Our students deserve better. 💔” – @_reyesrules.

It Does Not Truly Measure Growth

Teacher holding sign in support of canceling state tests

“Standardized tests do not truly measure growth and knowledge. We need to cancel state testing this year. We must do better in the midst of a global pandemic.” – @anovohistory.

There Are Better Ways to Learn

Sign sharing reasons for canceling state tests

State testing needs to be canceled because… for too long prepping for state testing means taking time away from courses and lessons in social studies and history. The skills and knowledge students learn in these classes are essential to making well-rounded and informed citizens. They will also be the citizens who vote you in or out of office and vote on policies that will impact you.” – @teaching_historyinheels.

Kids Before Content

Teacher holding sign in support of cancel state testing campaign

“To quote the great Moira Rose, “I have never heard someone say so many wrong things, one after the the other, consecutively, in a row.”

For months now, we’ve been discussing the importance of social, emotional, and mental health for our students. We’ve been focusing on helping them navigate a global pandemic to the best of our abilities, something that was not covered in our preservice education courses.

State testing needs to be cancelled. The tests are full of racial bias and will only cause more anxiety, fear, and stress for our students and our teachers. This entire year has been inequitable for many and we cannot fairly see where “children are left behind”.

@potus, in your campaign you promised us that you would eliminate standardized testing. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to reevaluate and change the direction of our education system.” – @teachingintheflx.

No Data Is Better Than Bad Data

Teacher sign against state testing

”Cancel the dang tests.
***
Hi, me again. With more opinions.
***
It’s WILD to me that states are even thinking standardized testing this year. WILD. Let me say it again. W-I-L-D.
***
Nothing has been normal about this year, so why should we administer standardized tests and act like they are?! Not only do standardized tests take up obscene amounts of time (25 hours just to GIVE the test), but this year the data will be inaccurate and unhelpful. Yet, if it’s collected people will still attempt to use this data to make decisions. Which is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous. Make it make sense!” – @smarterteaching.

We Should Use Our Time Wisely

Teacher holding sign in support of campaign to stop state testing

“State testing needs to be canceled because… many students haven’t been in the school building since March 2020 & when we return we shouldn’t use that time to proctor a racially biased test!

…we should use our time with students to actually close achievement gaps and measure achievement in more holistic & meaningful ways.

…students are more than a score on a test.

…we are in a PANDEMIC!” – @shannons_fitish_life.

They Don’t Tell The Whole Story

Teacher sign against achievement tests

“It’s been almost one year since the start of this wild Covid-19 ride. When reflecting on this journey, we’ve come such a long way. Students have learned a new way of learning while we’ve learned a new way of teaching.

Along the way they’ve been faced with unprecedented event after unprecedented event….however, they continue to show up. We continue to teach and they continue to learn.

Am I where I normally am in the curriculum this time on a normal year? Nope. Have my students learned more in life than most 6th graders? Yup. Will the state assessment take into consideration all of the extenuating circumstances of this year? Nope.

I’m proud of my students. I’m proud of my colleagues. We don’t need the pressure of the state assessment bearing down on educators and students.” – @illuminating_literacy.

The Cons Outweigh the Pros

Teacher holding sign to support cancel state testing movement

“Cancel standardized tests/state tests.
RACIST: As Young Whan Choi, Manager of Performance Assessments Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, California, explains, “Too often, test designers rely on questions which assume background knowledge more often held by White, middle-class students. It’s not just that the designers have unconscious racial bias; the standardized testing industry depends on these kinds of biased questions in order to create a wide range of scores.”

CLASSIST: as Eloy Ortiz Oakley, MBA, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, points out, “Many well-resourced students have far greater access to test preparation, tutoring and taking the test multiple times, opportunities not afforded the less affluent… [T]hese admissions tests are a better measure of students’ family background and economic status than of their ability to succeed” (this is talking more about the SAT and other standardized tests, but could be applied to this as well when we think about kids that have been tutored on how to take tests).

SEXIST: Girls tend to do less well than boys and perform better on questions with open-ended answers, according to a 2018 study by Stanford University’s Sean Reardon, which found that test format alone accounts for 25 percent of the gender difference in performance in both reading and math. Researchers hypothesize that one explanation for the gender difference on high-stakes tests is risk aversion, meaning girls tend to guess less.”

All info is from: https://standardizedtests.procon.org which gives some of the pros and the cons.

These cons HEAVILY outweigh the pros.” – @makingastatementinsped.

How Is This Good for Students?

Teacher sign against state testing during pandemic

“State testing needs to be cancelled because we’re all just being set up for failure. Teaching and learning has not been standard so there’s really no way a standardized test can be appropriate.⁣ How is this testing good for students?” – @mrsspanglerinthemiddle.

There Are Better Ways to Spend Money

Teacher sign against testing students during pandemic

“State testing needs to be cancelled because…

1️⃣Mental health > Test Scores

2️⃣Student at home + students at school = equity issues

3️⃣Inconsistent Instruction. Enough said.

4️⃣Standardized tests do not truly measure student growth (in this year, or any year).

5️⃣There are so many better ways we could spend 1.7 BILLION dollars a year.” – @giraffic_jam_tpt.

Let’s Be Honest…

Teacher holding sign against standardized tests

“LET’S BE HONEST”
I understand that standardized assessments give stakeholders an idea of where a child, school, and district are performing.

HOWEVER…..

State testing needs to be canceled because in school, every year and especially this year, teachers differentiate their instruction in order to meet kids where they are. If we as teachers differentiate to each student, why are students receiving a standardized test to show what they know? A standardized assessment does not measure what a child, school, and district have learned. Normally, the negatives are what’s highlighted.” – @tawnimaikalani.

They’ve Been Through Enough

Sign stating that state testing is not equitable

“Our kids are living through a pandemic. You can’t say their social emotional health is important and then force them to take these tests!” – @teachingbelle.

Learning Isn’t One Size Fits All

Sign stating reasons why we should cancel state testing

“State testing needs to be canceled because… There should not be a one size fits all measurement of student learning for a system that pushes differentiated instruction. Testing takes away time from valuable instructional minutes, aka the learning that testing is supposed to measure…Testing is stressful for students and teachers.

We should focus on student (and teacher) mental health, rather than gauging how much they have lost. Some have lost more than others. They don’t need to demonstrate that for anyone. They know, and we know. They will be ok, as long as we provide them with the support they need and eliminate added stressors, like unnecessary tests!” – @adhdteach.

Kids Should Come First

Educator sign against state testing during pandemic

<”State testing needs to be canceled. FULL STOP. Throughout this pandemic, the inequities that exist in our education system have been even more glaring. To force students to complete testing would add more trauma to the laundry list of experiences that students have had to deal with in the past year. Here in NYC, we have not met the most basic needs of students by even ensuring that all students have access to WiFi and adequate devices to keep up with their learning- to say nothing of the trauma of watching families and loved ones struggle with their health, their well-being, and their ability to stay financially afloat. We cannot expect students to learn when their most basic needs aren’t being met.” – @thereaderreport.

It’s What’s Best for Kids

Teacher holding sign that supports canceling state tests

“I could go on and on and list all the reasons why state testing is unfair, inequitable, and damaging to kids (and educators) who are all doing the best we can while trying to cope with the very real trauma of this last year, but it all boils down to this. We need to cancel state testing this year because it’s what’s best for kids.

Do we need to do everything in our power to help students move forward in their educational pursuits? Absolutely. Standardized testing does not give us what we need to do that.

Not administering these standardized tests will give me as an educator the time to measure achievement in more innovative, holistic, and meaningful ways. Ask me how many days a year on average I lose of instructional time — time that could be spent building stronger relationships and providing more purposeful and individualized support — to standardized testing. I need that time now, more than ever.” – @misskellerabc.

Vast Inequalities Exist In Education

Teacher sign against state testing

”TRUST ME-We do NOT need a state wide test to further show us the VAST inequalities that exist within education
.
INSTEAD, let me have every precious moment of instructional time I have left with my students to further our learning and the building of relationships
.
Cancel. The. Tests.” – @historyfromthemiddle.

Resilience Cannot Be Tested

Teacher sign about student resilience in pandemic

“State testing needs to be cancelled because RESILIENCE cannot be tested. 💪 Students have learned so many lessons this past year that could never be assessed on a standardized test.” – @mrsorman.

We’re All Just Trying to Survive

Teacher holding sign about surviving pandemic

“There are SO MANY reasons why state testing should be cancelled. I’ve never been a fan of all the testing we force students to go through, but doing it during a PANDEMIC is just irresponsible.” – @rempsroom.

It’s Disruptive

Teacher sign that says state testing is disruptive in pandemic

@tchrmom29.

Mental Health Is More Important

Teacher sign says students are more important than testing

“State testing needs to be canceled! There are so many reasons standardized tests need to be canceled, especially this year. The federal gov’t has stated that they need the data to see where the students really are from this pandemic. I would rather write you an in depth report from my professional knowledge in the field I teach in than subject my 12 & 13 year old students to multiple days of testing that are overwhelming even on their best days.” – @medsger_recs_and_rolls.

It Makes Anxiety Worse

Teacher sign supporting canceling state testing

“Just one of many reasons.

We will waste class time preparing for this test, even though I haven’t even seen my students in person yet this year. Instead of meaningful assignments that show their understanding of concepts, we’ll spend time practicing multiple choice tests. Rather than spending time getting to know them as learners, we’ll get to know how to use the testing software.” – @elawithmskelly.

We Need That Time With Students

Teacher holding sign to support cancel state testing movement

“State testing needs to be cancelled this year. There are SO many reasons to cancel state testing, but here are two I’d like to highlight:
* It would be detrimental to our students’ mental health & that should matter more than a test score. We have already asked so much of our students this year.
* We need more time this year to ACTUALLY TEACH. It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, & energy to administer these tests. That time would be better spent on teaching, not testing.” – @middleschoolforever.

Students Are Experiencing Trauma

Teacher holding sign against standardized tests

“State testing needs to be canceled because…

⭐students are experiencing trauma this year, and forcing this testing on them is only going to exacerbate their mental health struggles. $1.7 billion per year is spent on state testing…let’s put that money toward actually helping kids

⭐standardized tests are racially biased

⭐we should not be wasting class time on prep and testing when we are concerned about loss of instruction. This year has been inconsistent for everyone…what would this even measure?

⭐we are in a global pandemic! Why does any of this matter?” – @readwritejess.

Plus, check out New Study Shows Students Learning Online Are More Stressed Than Their In-Person Classmates.

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Teachers Have Launched a Campaign to Cancel State Testing in 2021