Standards and Assessments

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations around standards and assessments.

New Mexico School District Values Arts Education

As the New Mexico Public Education Department considers a plan for reopening schools in the fall, Las Cruces Public Schools’ district officials are weighing options to prioritize arts education for their students in a post-pandemic environment. Under ESSA, “arts  education is part of a well-rounded…

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp To Seek Federal Testing Waiver for the 2020-21 Academic Year

Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post reports that Georgia will be the first state that will pursue a federal testing waiver for the 2020-21 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This school year, Education Secretary Betsy Devos approved a one-year waiver that suspended “federally…

Alabama State DOE Announces Goals for Improvement

The Alabama State Department of Education has released a new plan outlining measurable goals to improve student achievement, including: “1) Academic Growth and Achievement; 2) College, career, and workforce preparedness; 3) Safe and supportive learning environments; 4) Highly effective educators; 5) and Customer-friendly services.” The…

Think Tank Gives Guidance on how to Measure COVID Slide Learning Loss for EL Students

A new policy brief from the Migration Policy Institute “explores the policy and practical questions for states considering implementing native-language assessments,” which may more effectively measure student knowledge and allow educators to identify gaps in English-language instruction. The brief comes at a time when many…

Virginia Department of Education Considers Assessments in Guidance for 2020-21 School Year

Barring a federal waiver of standardized testing requirements as outlined by the Every Student Succeeds Act in the next school year, Virginia officials are preparing plans to ensure that assessments can be given in the spring of 2021. The state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests…

More Than 50 Organizations Unite to Advocate for Arts Education

A group of more than 50 arts and education organizations released a statement, “Arts Education Is Essential,” underscoring the role that the arts have played—both during the ongoing health crisis as well as its importance in general for all students, “including those who are in…

Coalition Pushes Congress to Ease Special Education Funding Mandate in Light of Pandemic

A coalition of education organizations is pushing Congress “to waive a provision in federal law that requires school districts to maintain consistent funding levels for special education from year to year.” The “maintenance of effort” provision, part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is…

The Way We Evaluate Student Progress Will Need to Change in Post-Pandemic World

An editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch outlines a problem educators nationwide are grappling with: how to most effectively measure student progress in a post-pandemic world. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, all 50 states have asked the U.S. Department of Education to waive standardized…

DeVos Focuses on Special Ed Teachers in Voucher Push

“After years of frustration in her attempts to expand education choice, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is picking up steam,” writes Andrew Ujifusa for Education Week. “Fresh evidence that DeVos is continuing her push to prioritize choice with federal funds can be found in…

New Brookings Report Looks at NAEP Civics Results

In this new report, the Brookings Institution takes a look at the recent release of the National Center of Education Statistics’ results from the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics assessment to answer whether public schools are living up to their “core mission”…

Massachusetts Receives Federal Approval to Develop Innovative Science Assessment

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education gave Massachusetts the green light to “pilot a new kind of science test for fifth and eighth-grade students” as part of a federal innovative assessment program for the 2020-2021 school year. This approval will give the state the…

How States Can Leverage ESSA to Help Students in Need During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As Andrew Ujifusa writes for Education Week, there are more ways for states to take advantage of ESSA than just the waivers provided by the Department of Education. According to the Center on Reinventing Public Education, there are “millions of dollars states can use outside…

Coronavirus Poses New Challenges for Already Imperiled Statewide Standardized Assessments

A piece by Education Next takes a deeper dive into the recent FutureEd study examining opposition to statewide standardized testing. This opposition has made for strange bedfellows as “teachers’ unions and their progressive allies” opposed to test-based consequences for schools and teachers find themselves on…

New Report Outlines Political Opposition to Standardized Testing, Future of Assessments

FutureEd just released a new report that examines the “bipartisan backlash against standardized testing in recent years” in the context of the current coronavirus pandemic. The report draws on a “new 50-state analysis of testing through 2019” to “examine the striking scale of the pushback…

Seven GLOW School Districts Recognized by NAMM for Music Education Efforts

Seven school districts in the quad-county region of New York known as the GLOW region—comprising Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties—were recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation in its “Best Communities in Music Education school districts list.” The NAMM Foundation “recognizes…

COVID-19 to Have a Multi-Year Impact on School Accountability Systems

According to Chris Domaleski at the Center for Assessment, the disruption to ESSA school accountability systems is likely to reach well beyond 2021. Given the fact that many “state ESSA accountability systems rely on a bundle of multi-year data,” returning to the status quo quickly…

Accountability, Testing Requirements Waived for all Texas Schools

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) received federal approval last week “to waive statewide assessment and accountability requirements” under the Every Student Succeeds Act for the 2019-2020 school year. In light of the mandatory school closures due to COVID-19, “all districts and campuses will receive a…

Virginia Cancels Federally Mandated Standards of Learning Testing with DOE Approval

The U.S. Department of Education granted permission to the Commonwealth of Virginia “to cancel federally mandated Standards of Learning tests for the 2019-2020 school year.” Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are required “to administer annual assessments in reading and mathematics from third grade…

Postsecondary and College Enrollment Data Reporting Varies Greatly State to State

Education Dive takes a closer look at which states are reporting college enrollment data and how they are reporting it. Under ESSA, states are encouraged to report college enrollment rates as one area of student performance. According to guidance provided by the Department of Education…

Bureau of Indian Education Publishes Standards, Assessments and Accountability System Rule

The Bureau of Indian Education recently published its Standards, Assessment and Accountability System Final rule under the Every Student Succeeds Act, according to the Cherokee Phoenix. The SAAS rule will “provide the BIE with the ability to operate under a unified assessment system intended to…

Spring Testing Canceled, Postponed, or Suspended Nationwide

Tens of thousands of schools across the country have closed in response to the spread of coronavirus, throwing state assessments into disarray. After initially considering “targeted” waivers of federal testing requirements, the Department of Education “shifted to a broader approach that will let most states…

Annual Testing for Homeschooled Students Not Impacted by ESSA Testing Waivers

The Trump administration’s waiving of federally required testing normally required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) does not apply to homeschooling families, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). While schools will not need to adhere to ESSA’s federal testing requirements in…

Secretary DeVos to Waive ESSA Requirements

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic “can bypass standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year.” After receiving a “proper” request, the Department “will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess…

Illinois First in Nation to Include Arts as Weighted Indicator of K-12 Success Under ESSA

The Illinois State Board of Education voted unanimously to “include arts as a weighted indicator of K-12 success in its school accountability metrics under the Every Student Succeeds Act.” Only a few states include the arts in their ESSA accountability metrics, and none include them…

Trump Administration Waives ESSA Testing Requirements, Eases Student Loan Payments

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump Administration “moved to waive federal requirements for standardized tests for students in kindergarten through 12th grade and gave borrowers with student loans the option of suspending payments.” Those with federal student loan debt can request a postponement…