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Trump eliminates 2020 federal testing requirements

By Eric D. Randall, Editor-in-Chief

President Donald Trump announced today that the Education Department would not enforce federal standardized testing requirements for K-12 schools.

"With many schools closed due to the virus, the Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing requirements for students in elementary through high school for the current year," Trump said.

Following up on Trump's announcement, the State Education Department has, in turn, announced the suspension of tests, which applies to:

  • New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Test;
  • New York State Grades 3-8 Mathematics Test;

  • New York State Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test;

  • New York State Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test;

  • New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in Grades K-12; and

  • New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for students with severe cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and high school.

It is most important that during the time of closure, schools are able to continue to focus their efforts toward local school and community needs, as they have been doing, and not be concerned about state assessments," Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Interim Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe said in a statement. They noted that the State Education Department has applied for federal waivers for testing, accountability, and reporting requirements.

Rosa and Tahoe noted that the state has required districts to submit plans for the continuation of teaching and learning while schools are closed. "We are incredibly grateful to the educators who are devoted to developing these plans in the most equitable way possible and who have provided resources for parents and children," they said. "We are thankful for the devotion and ongoing leadership of our teachers, administrators, school board members and parents who have gone above and beyond so that students are safe and impacted as little as possible."

Under ESSA, schools are required to administer standardized tests. The State Education Department therefore could not eliminate the tests for this year until the federal government took action.

"We are relieved that the federal government is taking action to remove certain mandates that simply are unworkable in the dire circumstances we are currently facing," said NYSSBA Executive Director Robert S. Schneider.

Read Rosa and Tahoe’s statement here.

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