Education Policy

Feds Say States Can Skip High-Stakes Testing This Year

The U.S. Department of Education has issued notification that states can choose to "bypass" standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year. Secretary Betsy DeVos said in the announcement that the department would grant a waiver to any state unable to assess its students "due to the ongoing national emergency."

"Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn. Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time," said DeVos in a statement. "Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment."

She noted that the actions would give states "turnkey flexibilities" in helping to address the "immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions."

The testing waiver comes with an additional element: States won't have to worry about the reporting requirements related to state accountability systems tied to the testing.

Under the declaration, schools identified as requiring support and improvement for the current academic year will maintain their same status in the 2020-2021 school year.

The full statement is available on the Department of Education website, as is a template showing how state education leaders may phrase the request for a waiver.

Find more resources for schools during the COVID-19 crisis here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.