State wants to waive testing requirements for high school seniors, third-graders in wake of COVID-19

The changes take effect on the September 2020 national ACT test date and are meant to improve...
The changes take effect on the September 2020 national ACT test date and are meant to improve students’ test-taking experience and increase their opportunities for college admissions and scholarships.(KEYC News Now)
Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 5:50 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Citing disruptions to the school year caused by COVID-19, the state superintendent of education is recommending waiving passage requirements for standardized tests.

“I think this year is a year of grace,” she said. “I understand that COVID-19 has disrupted teaching and learning this school year, and we want to make sure we support teachers, administrators and students as much as possible.”

Statewide assessments will still take place as scheduled this year, “to measure statewide student progress, assess the impact of COVID-19 … on learning and meet U.S. Department of Education requirements.”

“Statewide assessments provide critical data to the department to identify any learning gaps and what resources the state needs to accelerate learning opportunities for students and professional development for teachers,” Wright said.

Students in public schools must take and pass several end-of-the-year assessments. Third-graders must take a reading exam, while high-schoolers must take subject-area exams in U.S. History, biology, algebra and English II.

The Mississippi Department of Education is also recommending that districts and schools keep their letter grade from the 2018-19 school year and is working with technical advisors on how to meet federal accountability measures.

The move comes less than a year after MDE moved to ease requirements early during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Associated Press reported that high school students would be allowed to graduate without having to pass the subject-area tests, if they passed the underlying school courses.

Third-graders also were allowed to advance to fourth grade without having to pass the reading test, as long as other requirements were met.

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