How education can change in a post-pandemic world
They also agreed that the focus on learning loss as measured by testing is wrong.
“What hasn’t happened is a significant setback for fourth graders who are suddenly reading at the second grade level,” Reykdal said.
Reykdal said relying solely on tests is a systemic error in education.
“It’s that we have a whole culture of people who have built a narrative that you can define an entire educational experience or define a teacher’s effectiveness by a standardized test score, and that’s fundamentally wrong,” did he declare. The tests should be used, he said, to identify where inequalities in education occur.
During his tenure as state superintendent, Reykdal called on the Legislature to downplay the importance of testing and pushed for different ways to judge how well students — and their teachers — are doing. .
While it’s important to check on academic progress, “we do it every day. Professional educators are amazing. They have assessment tools to do that,” he said. “We still spend tens of millions on formal assessments that mean nothing because we don’t respond to them in a child-by-child way. We do systems analysis.
Hawkins said the focus on testing dismisses students’ resilience, as well as what they now expect from schools.
“They prioritized and came in with very strong voices about what they want their education to look like now,” she said.
And the pandemic and remote learning have allowed many students to connect their home life, culture and lived experiences to their education in ways that the long-established in-person school did not always allow before, Hawkins said.
“Students want to move these conversations forward more openly now, and if we don’t tap into that, then we’re suppressing their voices,” she said.