DeVos gives the green-light to cancel state testing

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said on Friday that states will have flexibility to cancel 2019-2020 standardized tests in light of the “ongoing national emergency.”

States impacted by school closures because of the coronavirus can apply for a waiver to bypass federally mandated testing requirements, the U.S. Department of Education said in a news release.

“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn,” DeVos said in the release. “Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time.”

The Idaho State Department of Education did not immediately respond to questions about whether it plans to apply for the statewide testing waiver.

In a conference call with education leaders, DeVos said the waiver is “a simple check the box exercise.”

Already, the SDE has extended the window for ISAT standardized testing, and told individual schools that they can apply for a testing waiver if they can’t meet the requirement that 95 percent of students take the standardized tests.

Testing guidance from the SDE released earlier this week says:

  • The ISAT testing window will stay open until May 29.
  • Idaho’s statewide SAT test day, planned for April 14, has been moved to April 28.
  • The ACT has rescheduled it’s April 4 test date to June 13.
  • The IRI testing window is still scheduled as planned, for May 1 – May 31.

Education Week reports that 45 states have closed all schools as of Friday, March 20.

Idaho’s Gov. Brad Little has not issued a blanket closure order for schools, instead leaving that decision up to individual districts. As of Wednesday, the SDE estimated that 95 percent of K-12 schools had voluntarily decided to close. Most Idaho schools and districts are entering spring break vacation time and have hopes of returning to school in April.

SOURCE: Education week

Advanced Placement tests move online

The College Board also announced on Friday  that it is changing the format of AP exams, so students can take their capstone tests from home.

Because of course disruptions this year, the College Board is changing its in-person exam format to a 45-minute online free response test. The exams will only cover AP course content that most classrooms had covered by early March. Students can  take the tests on a computer, tablet, smartphone or take a picture of written work and upload that.

While details are scarce, The College Board also plans to “invest” so that low-income or rural students without easy  access to the internet can also access the test. Teachers or students who need mobile devices or connectivity can reach out to The College Board using this form.

The College Board is also providing free AP review classes (starting on March 25), and plans to release more details about the tests by April 3. Each subject will have two different testing dates.

For more details, visit The College Board website.

 

 

Sami Edge

About Sami Edge

Reporter Sami Edge, a University of Oregon graduate, joined Idaho Education News in 2019. She is a 2019 Education Writers Association fellow reporting on Latino student outcomes in Idaho. She also is a 2019 American Press Institute fellow. She can be reached at [email protected].

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