end overassessments in pandemic updated 2.jpg




Suggested script for parents

Hello may I speak with Alison Towery? I am a parent at (name of your school) and I am calling to demand you stop the second and third installment of Edulastic and Renaissance. Your office is over-testing my child. We are in the midst of a pandemic. My child does not need more tests they need more time with their teacher and peers to focus on curriculum that is engaging. We are respectfully asking that you stop Edulastic and Renaissance. 

Suggested script for educators

Hello may I speak with Alison Towery? I am a teacher at (name of your school) I am calling to demand you stop the second and third installment of Edulastic and Renaissance. Your office is taking away important synchronous learning time from educators and students. Students do not need more tests they need more time to focus on curriculum that is engaging. We are respectfully asking that you stop mandating Edulastic and Renaissance.


Talking Points on Campaign to End Overassessments

UTLA educators are joining with parents to push back on the second and third installments of the Edulastic and Renaissance non-mandated assessments as part of our broader campaign to reduce the over-testing of students.

  • Edulastic and Renaissance Assessments are unnecessary tests that are not mandated by the state or federal government.
  • Edulastic and Renaissance Assessments were created for the traditional school year and thus do not align with crisis distance learning.
  • These assessments are negatively impacting our students by taking up synchronous instructional time and forcing teaching schedules to be rearranged. 
  • Students do not need more tests — they need more time to focus on curriculum that is engaging. 
  • The pandemic has highlighted how the systems in our society have placed Black and Brown students at a disadvantage. To expect that we can gather accurate assessments from students lacking heat, a warm meal, and a quiet place to focus is ludicrous.
  • Some district officials may claim that Senate Bill 98 requires these tests — that’s not accurate. SB 98 says we must assess, but it does not say we must use the same assessments across the district. 
  • LAUSD can protect instructional time by cancelling the second and third installments of Edulastic and Renaissance Assessments.


Chapter leaders: Report on Parent Meetings

UTLA chapters are holding member and parent meetings to discuss how over-testing during a pandemic is hurting our students.  

Chapter leaders: It is vital that we track how much power we are building around our campaign to reduce assessments. Please use the link below to let us know how the parent meetings at your chapter went, and submit a response for each member at your chapter who holds a virtual parent meeting.

Click below for Over-testing Parent Meeting Report Form ⬇︎

google form overtesting





Taking on overtesting: What assessments are you administering?

The district is meeting its obligations on many of our strike wins — such as hiring counselors and lowering class size by adhering to caps at all levels TK-12 — but on other issues it is not. One of those issues is identifying all district assessments and the impact on instructional time, with the stated goal of reducing testing by 50%. 

One major hurdle is that the district doesn’t even know the actual amount of testing they impose on our students. This is because every local district superintendent and school principal has additional discretion to require teachers to administer even more tests than what is mandated at the federal, state, and district levels. 

To reveal the true extent of the overtesting of our students, we need info from your school. We ask that every elementary school call a grade-level meeting before March 17 to list all the assessments you administer throughout the school year beyond those mandated by the state or federal government (refer to LAUSD Memo 6700.3) and not counting teacher-created assessments. Use the sheet below (click here or on image below) to help guide your work.

Please complete this work no later than March 17. Your data will help pressure the district and implement our contract win to reduce overtesting.




OVER-TESTING is a substantive issue for educators and students. This year elementary teachers have been inundated with an unprecedented amount of top-down mandates.

  • LAUSD gives 11 standardized tests that are not mandated by the state or federal governments
  • This is in addition to 10 standardized tests that are mandated by the state or federal governments
  • This has led to 3rd and 4th graders taking up to 16 standardized tests, 5th graders taking up to 18 standardized tests, and 8th graders taking up to 17.

As a result

  • Quality of education has been adversely affected
  • There has been a dramatic loss of instructional time
  • Serious equity issues – due to nonuniform teaching throughout the district
  • Teachers judgment and input has overlooked and disrespected
  • It is often unclear to teachers as to whether tests have been mandated by the district, state or federal – and whether these tests are mandatory or optional


We are fighting for

  • Assessments that respect the professional knowledge and input of teachers
  • Assessments that do not compromise student learning time
  • Consistent testing practices across the district, ensuring equality & equity in the learning experiences of our students
  • Teaching professionals to be a part of assessment development


UTLA is Bargaining for Academic Freedom

Currently, UTLA's bargaining team is negotiating contract language to ensure educator academic freedom is respected and that assessments are reflective of student learning. One way is the implementation of Article XXV, Section 4.0 of our contract, where it states that, “teacher shall be provided the academic freedom and unilateral professional discretion to determine what assessments are used in their classroom, how assessments are used in their classroom, and when assessments are used in their classroom.”

Mandate Madness Graphic

Are you over-testing?

Know which tests are mandatory and which are optional.

Are you aware that the following top-down mandated tests are OPTIONAL, rather mandatory?


Testing Checklist
  • ELLP (Early Literacy and Learning Plan)
    • Data Walls/Folders etc?
    • Data Talks/Meetings etc?
    • Progress Monitoring
  • TRC​ ​(Text Reading Comprehension)
    • Recommended​ for grades 3rd-6th
    • Can replace​ DIBELS for students who consistently score above benchmark in DIBELS, and are in grades 3rd-5th/6th (except for ELLS, SWD)
  • Benchmark K-6 Foundational Skills Assessment
  • Benchmark Interim Assessments & Performance Tasks
  • Benchmark English Language Development Assessments
  • My Math, Think Smart for the Smarter Balanced
    • Chapter Performance Test
    • Benchmark Tests
Download the Testing Checklist
View/Print/Save PDF

Stop the Mandate Madness

Get a waiver

If your school is interested in self-directing its student testing efforts, LAUSD has a waiver process that would waive non-mandated tests and replace them with alternate educator-driven assessments.

In 2017 only 11 schools applied, but all that applied were granted a waiver. These schools chose to create their own alternative assessments, reflective of the needs of their student population.


If you’re school would like to “stop the mandate madness,” follow these steps to organize, and apply for a waiver:

Chapter Chairs:

  1. Engage your staff on the Testing Checklist {links to dowload}
  2. Hold a UTLA meeting to discuss the impacts that overtesting has had on your teaching and student learning time
  3. Request a meeting with your principal to discuss the possibility of a waiver for your school
  4. Request that the information on the waiver be shared at an upcoming faculty meeting and added to the agenda
  5. Share your stories and send a picture of your checklist to stopthemandatemadness@utla.net
  6. Contact your area rep if you have any questions
Download LAUSD Waiver
View/Print/Save PDF

Take Back Your Voice – PARTICIPATE! »

  • Where and how are the decisions about testing and programs being made? We encourage you to ask
  • Next time there is something new to implement, you, your grade level, or your entire staff should ask who is making decisions on behalf of your school
  • Are the decisions being made locally? If so, which decision-making bodies at your school site are having such conversations?
  • Perhaps grade-level chairs are discussing testing issues, but are not consulting teachers for input. If you want your concerns addressed, say something
  • Often times you will find that your concerns are felt among your colleagues as well. Coming together, getting your ideas down, and looking for solutions can help grade levels and even entire staffs become more involved in the direct decisions that affect your day-to-day instruction


Case Study - Beachy Avenue Elementary
Such was the case at Beachy Avenue Elementary. When the staff at Beachy was asked to fill out data forms, they held an emergency meeting that same day and together decided that no one would fill out these forms on their own time. Since Beachy teachers had substitute teachers covering their classes while they discussed the data with their administrator, the staff decided it would be a better use of that time to fill out the forms then. This might have been a risky move if a few teachers had done this on their own, but taking action collectively is much less risky and much more empowering.


It might take a different strategy when it comes to responding to decisions made at the local district. If your staff feels the newly implemented decisions by the local district are affecting your instructional program, there are several people to turn to. You can ask your chapter chair to contact your UTLA Area chair. Local districts have instructional directors you can reach out to as well when looking for answers.


Tips to Organize Around Standardized Testing »

  • Arrange a time ASAP for as many educators as possible to meet directly with your principal to go over the flyer on the reverse side with her/him, informing her/him of the action and asking for her/his support
  • Make copies of the bilingual flyer on testing, and hold small group meetings with parents to explain the action and build alliances around the issue going forward
  • Regularly check the UTLA website for updates on this issue.
  • If you or a colleague are directed to administer SBAC interim assessments or to administer DIBELS to all students regardless of your professional judgment:
  • Ask for the directive in writing;
  • If the directive is given in writing, comply with the directive. Immediately get the written directive to your UTLA area representative;
  • Contact your UTLA area representative immediately in order to get support in organizing a response
  • Involve your chapter in all organizing around a response
  • For specific questions on overtesting, see our Staff Directory to find your representative, or Contact Us with your question


Changes in school culture do not happen overnight - Stay vigilant!

  • conversations need to occur
  • support needs to be built
  • and a collective voice needs to come together

As the decision-making autonomies are given to local districts and school sites, teachers at each school need to get involved, and demand a say in the continuing educational improvement process.