Uncertainty. I think that this very much describes the 2020-2021 school year. When talking to educators and parents on what they expect, the usual answer is, “I don’t know. I have never been in this situation before”. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and prepared for. Organizations like the Council of Chief State School Officers CCSSSO Phase 2 Restart & Recovery Document and the American Enterprise Institute AEI A blueprint for back to school are doing a great job of beginning the discussion. One of the critical components for both is the importance of diagnostic testing.

You may have heard of the summer slide. While there is debate as to its effects, intuitively, it makes sense that one can extrapolate some of its assumptions into what COVID-19 means for student learning. The NWEA released a paper on what they are calling the COVID-19 slide. One of their points involves their belief that while virtually all students are not receiving the education they would typically expect, traditionally underserved students are again underserved during distance learning. This is not a provocative viewpoint.

First, though, it is critical to applaud and thank our educators. Honestly, while having been set up to fail, they have succeeded beyond expectations. In many cases, there has been a shortage of equipment, infrastructure, training, and curriculum. What is designed for the physical classroom often does not transfer to online learning. But, our teachers have done a fantastic job given the circumstances. Remember when many in education had not even heard of Zoom?

But we do need to recognize that we will not know what students know as they enter the 2020-2021 school year. Months of traditional teaching and end of year summative assessments have not taken place. Likely, neither has normal expectations of feedback and grading.

How can teachers be expected to effectively teach without a clear understanding of retention gaps in spring standards knowledge, let alone focus on the 2020-2021 requirements?

Part of the answer is a diagnostic testing, ideally district-wide, that will quickly and accurately reflect both student and class proficiency. The data also needs to be in the hands of stakeholders to help inform decision-making immediately.

Apperson can help with diagnostic testing by accurately scoring and quickly reporting the data. There are currently over 57,000 of our test-scoring-machines world-wide. Virtually all of them work with our free DataLink Connect reporting software, which allows you to generate detailed student and class proficiency reports. We also have a test-scoring-machine that can scan up to 3,900 tests an hour for less than $2000. Our technology is proven to supply important answers to an immediate and critical question.

We would love to talk to you about your options. Please call us at 800-827-9219, email us at clientservices@apperson.com, or request more information here.

All of us at Apperson are thankful for everything educators are doing during this time. Stay safe and remain optimistic that we will be able to use this opportunity to make a new, improved, normal.