PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Over the next month, students across Arizona will take standardized tests to gauge what they've learned in the pandemic.

The tests can only be administered in-person so what happens when thousands of kids are still learning from home? Many districts are encouraging remote learners to come onto campus to take these tests since they can’t be done at home.

"We can hypothesize what has happened, but this test is going to give us information on how every child has mastered the standards this year given the remote learning,” Jean Koeppen, PV Schools Assessment Director, said.

Last year, the state canceled all standardized testing for 2020, meaning kids haven’t been tested in two years.

“We’re planning remediation in the fall for next year, the more data we have on kids, the better decisions about grouping the students, and getting those kids into the right places to get the right help,” Koepeen said.

Koeppen knows it might seem a little odd to be asking families to come in when they’ve been remote for a year, but she stresses the importance of the state assessments.

“It will provide us information to run better as a district, we use that data for teacher training decisions, budget decisions, how to allocate resources, we are also very concerned about gaps, just like families are wondering how did the pandemic impact education, and we are very worried about it too,” Koeppen said.

Koeppen says schools in the district are coming up their own plans to test at-home learners. Some are doing it during the school day while others are testing on Saturdays or in the evenings. Keep in mind, 95% of students are required to participate. Koeppen admits it will be a challenge to meet that number in the pandemic.

“The higher the number the more valid the data, the more valid our decisions, we want to get every child so that they have information surrounding this time and how this impacts their education,” Koeppen said.

The Arizona Department of Education says it’s applying for a waiver from the US Department of Education to be exempt from the 95% requirement this year. ADE expects the wavier to be granted, but hopes schools make a good faith effort to test as many kids as possible.

 

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