Rita Lai, Accent Editor

In place of high school graduation, the California Department of Education (CDE) has announced that all senior students will take part in a new state-wide initiative named the STATE TESTING program effective June 2021.

“Look, it’s not really ‘state testing.’ We prefer to call it by the full program name, which is ‘Such Terrific And Transcendent Efforts Teaching Electronically So Talent Is Now Guaranteed,’” CDE Superintendent of Public Instruction Lovet Esting said. “This year has been really tough on both students and teachers, so hopefully this shiny new acronym can boost morale.”

Though school officials had been cautiously optimistic graduation ceremonies could be held, commencement plans have been completely halted in favor of a week-long program of senior state testing, an experience Esting and other CDE officials hope will be just as memorable as a live graduation ceremony.

The originally planned graduation ceremonies have been adjusted to place seniors socially distanced throughout the theater as the Wind Symphony loops “Pomp and Circumstance” in the background until the testing period is over. The volume of the music can be set between “deafening” and “ears-bleeding” at the discretion of local school administrators.

After the Every Child Left Hopelessly Behind Act of 2002 saw little nation-wide success, the Every Student Succeeds Because of Testing Act was passed in late 2015 to hand more control over educational standards to individual states. States would then have the option to administer as many standardized tests as necessary to gain an accurate measure of learning proficiency among students.

“We absolutely understand the hardships that distance learning has put on our students,” STATE TESTING program development advisor Faultie Rieserch said. “That’s why the development team conducted extensive research on the best way to relieve students’ stress while also effectively gauging student success. From our comprehensive sample size of one student, we concluded that increasing testing would have the most positive effect.” 

Regardless of if the results of 2021 STATE TESTING demonstrate student proficiency or deficiency this year, the CDE plans to replace all class meetings with constant testing in the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers will be redesignated test proctors, required to cut the entirety of their curriculum to deliver state-designed tests and meet a weekly quota of surprise tests to dole out to unexpecting students at random. 

“Teachers, or test proctors, as we are now called, have been planning test traps around campus to meet our quota,” Northwood test proctor Regina Larmabur said. “My best advice to students? Avoid the bathrooms next year. Those are prime places to administer surprise state tests.” 

Yet the CDE has further plans to increase the volume of test administration among high school students. Studies conducted by California’s top test proctors have indicated that students are most productive between 1-3 a.m.; to take advantage of this, the CDE plans to expand the TESTING initiative to force students to test in the middle of the night.

“As a committee, we have taken note of the countless hours that students waste by sleeping and learning,” Esting said. “Here at the CDE, we believe that TESTING all-day, every day, is a vital step towards the future of education.”