Pressing the Pause Button on Assessments (CMAS) 2021

Pressing the Pause Button on Assessments (CMAS) this year (Spring 2021)

Contention is brewing over whether schools should be running the CMAS assessments this spring in the State Capitol, at the State Board of Education, and on a more local level.

The Colorado Sun story that will provide you a pretty good summary of who supports a waiver on CMAS and who does not, and their reasons for their position.

https://coloradosun.com/2021/01/29/colorado-mcas-decision-coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR2vKlon3Gu_a4dQjKLGeeu0XvRQ_PiyiR1lYXIEVtZhCB0WShWUn-cHI_8

Normally, teachers would begin prepping students for the assessments in the next month or so – some are already getting ready to start that prep, which would be given in a window of time (generally a couple of weeks) beginning in April.

This year, many parents, teachers and administrators are advocating for an extension of the pause (like what was done last year due to COVID) where the state would apply for a federal waiver so we don’t lose any federal funding, since COVID is still with us, and students, teachers, schools and districts are still wrestling with the impact from being forced to flow between remote to hybrid to in-person learning.

There are those who still support administering the assessments this spring as usual, arguing the need to assess student loss in learning.  This includes some members of our State School Board, as well as some legislators.

But here are some important points that need to be taken into consideration:

Considering the resources expended to prep students for the assessments (student’s class time and teachers’ time), the question really needs to be asked:

If learning loss is a concern, 

(Let us reiterate:  “teachers would begin prepping students for the assessments in the next month or so – some are already getting ready to start that prep, which would be given in a window of time (generally a couple of weeks) beginning in April.”)

Is it really wise to use what valuable class time and educators’ time is left of this school year (February into April) to prep & take the assessments? 

  • Especially since the results of those assessments won’t be available to do anything with until August when students will have already moved on to the next grade.
  • So, if there’s a learning loss reflected in the CMAS results, what will educators/schools do with that information…in August (the beginning of the NEXT school year?)
  • What about those students who are learning via remote; or if there’s an outbreak and students are forced to go remote at the last minute?
  • Is there a plan for students who cannot take the assessments in the classrooms to take the assessments remotely?
  • What about the time and dollars a district dedicates to prep and give these tests, again, when there is really very little they can do with the data, because it comes back too late to be helpful?

Districts all across the state are suffering from the additional funding issues created by COVID –

Is this the time to ask them to spend those dollars on costs related to administering CMAS when they have so many other needs? 

Here are two on-line surveys where your input as parents would be helpful:

Shawna Fritzler for SJK has posted this info in response to the recent State Board of Education meeting where a few members argued taking CMAS is the only way parents would know how their children are doing in school.  Our intention is to share this info with the Board Members (we will not share or publish your contact info unless we contact you to get permission to do so). If you have questions about this, email admin@supportjeffcokids.org

Senator Rachel Zenzinger is one of the sponsors of the bill to request a waiver on CMAS.  She is also looking for your input.  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdVw6Opw1hjMu7a3n96FzYbUyPSzoHe-b3BkaEGy2lYK9rJVg/viewform

 

The Colorado Department of Education has posted this Fact Sheet and FAQ on CMAS testing

https://www.cde.state.co.us/assessment/factsheetsandfaqs?fbclid=IwAR1QT_Pc3lOfsdppPK0DhVgPvFYuxST6fY-l_aUFlnQSTupEdbEE2Yq0alg#cmas

How much time will the tests take? 

Overall, the estimated amount of testing time on CMAS is expected to be less than 1.5 percent of typical students’ total instructional time.