Feb 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration says states must resume standardized testing

U.S. Department of Education building in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Education told states on Monday that they must resume standardized testing of students this spring after it was suspended a year ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The decision to resume testing means schools will have to find a way to tests to tens of millions of students, many of whom are still learning remotely, according to Chalkbeat.

Federal law requires states to annually test students and publicly report the results.

  • The results are sometimes used to hold low-scoring schools accountable, but this year they will be used "a source of information for parents and educators to target resources and support, rather than for accountability purposes this year," the department said.
  • The department is allowing states to move assessments to the summer or fall, to give the assessment remotely and to shorten the test to prioritize in-person learning time.

What they're saying: "The Department of Education is committed to supporting all states in assessing student learning during the pandemic to help target resources and support to the students with the greatest needs," said Ian Rosenblum, acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

The big picture: Multiple states, including California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, have already asked for or are planning to request a waiver from this year’s testing requirements, according to Chalkbeat.

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