Schools will still have to give assessment tests to students despite the COVID pandemic

Kentucky Officials Evaluating New School Rankings_2783529631335795505

The U.S. Department of Education will require states to administer a statewide assessment for the 2020-2021 school year. The decision comes after many states have requested a waiver of the testing requirement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“To be successful once schools have re-opened, we need to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on learning and identify what resources and supports students need,” said Ian Rosenblum, acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, in a letter to education commissioners throughout the country. “We must also specifically be prepared to address the educational inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, including by using student learning data to enable states, school districts, and schools to target resources and supports to the students with the greatest needs.”

The Kentucky Department of Education is planning on administering a shortened version of the statewide assessment, as suggested by USED. The “COVID-19 Participation in Spring 2021 Kentucky State Testing” plan currently includes flexible test windows, a reduction in the time for assessment administration, where possible, and an option to bring in small groups of full-time virtual students for an in-person assessment.

KDE also released “Kentucky Summative Assessment Administration Guidance 2020-2021 School Year,” which provides specific guidelines for test administration, test accommodations, safety expectations and staff training for state test administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass expressed disappointment with the federal administration for not going further in providing states with greater flexibility when it comes to testing. “Certainly, we need to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on basic academic skills, but there are much better ways to go about it than subjecting millions of students to yet another disruption to learning – especially when we know the results from these assessments are going to be questionable at best,” he said. “Kentucky will apply for the waiver on accountability, and plan on giving our districts as much flexibility on testing as we can.”

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