Whether they’re in a classroom or at home, Oklahoma students won’t take assessment tests this school year.
The state is pursuing a federal waiver to suspend all statewide student assessments in the midst of a statewide school closure due to COVID-19.
But, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said even if there’s a delay in the waiver process, state assessments will not happen this spring.
“We will not have assessments statewide, even if we don’t have news back from that waiver,” she said. “There may be something where there’s a lag. But we are halting those plans and don’t anticipate picking it back up.”
The Every Student Succeeds Act mandates states to test students for English, math and science in third through eighth grades and one time in high school. Those tests were slated to begin in April.
At least 16 states have applied for a similar waiver. And Hofmeister said it’s also possible that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos could do a blanket waiver of testing this year.
Statewide closures are impeding instruction and shifting what educators need to do, Hofmeister said in a prepared statement earlier Thursday.
“Our educators and district leaders need to shift their focus from assessments to essential services, including child nutrition and planning to continue student learning through alternative delivery methods,” Hofmeister said. “Their priority cannot be with assessments that would be of questionable validity in the wake of a global pandemic. Assessments are very important tools, but they do not outweigh other considerations during this time of uncertainty.”
In a phone interview, Hofmeister said instruction will likely continue in some fashion after April 6. It will probably be done remotely. That could include using online tools or for students who have limited access to the internet, sending packets home along with daily meals during the week.
The waiver would also suspend the Oklahoma School Report Card for the year.