EL PASO COUNTY — In a rare move by the Pikes Peak Area Superintendents Association, the members agreed to compose and send a letter to the Colorado Department of Education, asking that standardized tests be suspended for this school year.
The state system of assessments, called the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), typically happen at the end of a school year.
One of the Chief Education Officers for School District 49 is Peter Hilts, who also happens to be the chair of the Superintendents Association. Hilts said teachers spend weeks preparing and administering the tests. He and the rest of the association hope to see the tests paused this year, in favor of assessments conducted by teachers. "We all agree that this is not the year to administer a low value, very disruptive, assessment system," said Hilts.
The Pikes Peak Education Association supports this move by the Superintendents Association. Aubrey Huey is the president of the teachers union, and says they are focused on quality education and social emotional health, not standardized tests. Huey said accountability is important, but teacher assessments are best right now. "We have students in all types of different learning environments right now. We have some students in person, some in remote, some in quarantine, some in a hybrid model... Taking additional time out for standardized testing is not what's best for our students right now," said Huey.
News5 also spoke with a parent who has a child in Academy School District 20. Amber Whetstine said she is grateful her daughter has gotten to return to school, which includes mainly in-person learning. "With the amount of time that my daughter lost this spring, I can't imagine her having to sit through six days worth of tests when she could be catching up on lost instructional time with her teacher... High stakes state tests on our teachers and our students right now is absolutely not appropriate," said Whetstine.
Those with the Colorado Department of Education said this is the only letter they have received like this at the time.
State legislators created a COVID-19 Policy Implications Stakeholder Group, which can recommend adjustments to student state assessments, accountability and accreditation, and educator effectiveness. CLICK HERE to take the survey, which ends on Friday.