The US Department of Education said Monday that states will need to administer annual standardized achievement exams for students in 2021, but that the exams can be modified or delayed.
at Message to education leaders in the countryActing Assistant Secretary of Education Ian Rosenblum wrote that the Biden administration will not consider “blanket waivers from assessments” this year.
Under federal law, states must take annual exams in major subjects including reading and math for students in grades three through eight and once in high school. The results of these tests can be used to judge schools, and sometimes also teachers, of their performance, and they can also trigger improvement efforts.
The requirement to administer state exams was waived by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Spring 2020, when most U.S. schools closed as a result of COVID-19.
The new directives come from the Biden administration in front of its candidate for the Minister of Education, Miguel CardonaIt has been confirmed. During a confirmation hearing in early February, Cardona did not say whether required federal exams should be waived again this year. He said it was important to assess students’ progress, but perhaps schools should not return students in person just to take a test.
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The new directive stipulates that states can decide whether to shorten annual exams, administer them remotely, or delay awarding them until the summer or fall. Also, schools will not be held responsible for student performance results.
“Certainly, we don’t think that if there are places where students cannot go to school safely in person due to the pandemic, they should be brought into school buildings for the sole purpose of taking the test,” Rosenblum wrote.
The standardized test issue divided the educational community, and this policy decision was no exception.
Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s largest teachers union, said the announcement marked a “frustrating turn” for the administration, after a series of successes in supporting children through the pandemic.
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“As teachers in the classroom, we have always known that standardized tests are not the best way to measure a child’s development, nor do they specifically help children or teach best practices for teaching and learning.” Books in the statement. “This is especially true in these unprecedented times, when students and teachers alike are reworking the school experience in the most unlikely circumstances.”
But CEO of the Council of School Presidents, Carissa Moffat Miller, said that she supports the federal demand Writing in a statement On Monday, the declaration “acknowledges the real and diverse challenges that teachers, students and families face across the country.”
“State education leaders and CCSSO value evaluation as a tool to find out where students are academically, identify inequalities, and inform decision-making, including ensuring that support reaches students who need it,” she added.
National Association of Parents and Educators Survey released On Monday it was found that 52% of parents surveyed prefer the end-of-year test this spring to “measure the impact of the epidemic on student learning.”
Usually, achievement tests are taken on students in the spring. Leslie Boggs, president of the Parents and Educators Association, said it provides “a clearer picture of where children are academically and helps equip parents to effectively advocate for their children’s learning.”
“As confirmed by the survey results, parents and teachers alike should have useful data about students’ learning and progress” in order to adapt learning.