FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Palo Alto Unified School District has decided to opt out of state testing this year due to concerns over the threat of community spread of the coronavirus. The state’s California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) is slated to be administered across the state later this month. “It does not make sense to put students in close proximity for extended periods of time to take an assessment that will be invalidated due to low participation rates according to rules set by the California Department of Education. With all of the uncertainty about COVID-19 causing school closures, student attendance being down due to illnesses, and cautions from medical experts to limit putting students in close proximity for long periods of time we believe it is only prudent to put off testing this year,” said Austin. Governor Gavin Newsom warned school districts last week that there may be more school closures in the weeks and months ahead. “The purpose of CAASPP is to give us a snapshot of how students are doing under normal circumstances,” said Austin. “These are not normal circumstances and the test results would likely not result in valid comparisons.” The District stressed that it will still be giving Advanced Placement tests for high school students in AP classes since the exams are optional and spacing guidelines can be easily accommodated. Palo Alto USD is calling for the state to suspend CAASPP testing for 2020.
After personal consultation with State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, and Santa Clara County Superintendent, Mary Ann Dewan, the Palo Alto Unified School District has decided to postpone CAASPP testing until late April through May for all sites. The State and County leaders now fully understand our concerns about maintaining high-level instruction and the potential for low participation rates. They are also aware that any school closures between now and the end of the school year could derail any testing efforts for PAUSD and school districts across California. If our conditions stabilize the postponed testing window could provide meaningful data. This is a rapidly evolving health situation and may take many turns before any potential test is administered.