Virtual Students Take In-Person EOCs
This April marks the beginning of the first spring End of Course (EOC) exam testing window since COVID-19 hit.
From Friday, April 16, to Friday, April 30, Biology, Algebra II and English II classes will complete the standardized test. Algebra I and Government classes will be assessed from Monday, May 10, to Friday, May 21.
To take their exam, both virtual students and in-person students must attend their designated testing place.
For students who are unable to attend the allotted testing time, the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) has not provided an alternative option as of now.
Since there is no alternative test or make-up option available, the administration is working on providing transportation to students.
Glenn Hancock, RSD Director of Research, Evaluation and Assessment, has been sorting out the details of the upcoming EOC exams since last September.
“We are working with our transportation department to discuss our options for students to attend the test as we still haven’t finalized plans for bringing virtual students on campus for the EOC,” Hancock said.
However, changes have been made to the tests this year due to the circumstances. Field test items such as long reading passages and essays have been removed, making them shorter. Additionally, the testing window can be set to as long as needed. In years prior, the testing window could not exceed seven days.
The administrators are mitigating the spread of COVID-19 by requiring students to wear face masks, providing as much space as possible to enable students to participate while remaining socially distanced, ensuring surfaces are disinfected prior to and after test administration and discussing alternate times for virtual students to come in person to take an EOC exam.
In addition to this, a no-cheating policy will be enforced by a lockdown browser and staff will be trained by test coordinators to follow no-cheating protocols.
Approximately 7,000 students in RSD will take EOC exams this year.
Ellen Klasing, statistics and Algebra I teacher, has 44.3 percent of her Algebra I students attending virtual school as of last week.
To help prepare all of her students for the EOC exams, Klasing plans to review on the days leading up to the test as well as walk her mainly freshmen class through the testing process.
“I certainly feel for the students who have remained virtual either for their own safety and the safety of those in their family,” Klasing said. “Forcing them to come back to take a standardized test in person seems counterproductive to the strategies they have been taking thus far.”
However, she said as long as all safety measures are in place, then all students should be safe.
Klasing said she struggles with the concept of standardized testing in general as she believes every student learns differently and measuring them with the same test is unfair.
“It is admittedly frustrating, to say the least, especially in this new environment,” Klasing said.
One of Klasing’s students, Zubia Rajput, freshman, has opted for virtual learning this year due to living with high-risk family members. She will be taking an Algebra I and Biology EOC exams.
“Having virtual students take the test in person seems a bit unfair,” Rajput said. “But on the other hand, it would be unfair to in-person students if virtual students had the opportunity to take it at home as there are a lot more resources at home, so this seems to be the best option.”
Rajput has been attending school virtually all year and hasn’t taken a standardized test in more than a year.
“I am a bit nervous because I haven’t tested in a pressured environment in well over a year, but I think it will go well because teachers can guide you and it’s a taste of what standardized tests will look like next year when things have hopefully calmed down,” Rajput said.
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