States Must Apply for Federal Testing Waivers; Eliminate All Other Testing Requirements

Pressure from grassroots activists and a bipartisan group of policymakers has forced President Trump and Education Secretary DeVos to allow states to suspend federal standardized exam requirements in the wake of the coronavirus. But to completely eliminate Spring 2020 testing, state leaders must
  1) file formal requests with the U.S. Department of Education to be relieved of Every Student Succeeds Act testing mandates for this year, and
  2) lift all requirements for state-required testing by legislative action to amend state laws or by executive order

Even before the Trump Administration announcement of a "streamlined" waiver process, at least eight states (Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia) had cancelled standardized exams for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  A half dozen more had already asked the feds for permission to suspend the annual standardized exam requirement.  Listening to parents, educators and community leaders, these state leaders concluded that there is no rational justification for any jurisdiction to continue requiring mass administration of standardized exams this academic year, given the loss of learning time from school closures and the psychological impact of the pandemic on young people.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) has compiled the following overview of state actions to shut down spring 2020 testing, updated through Monday morning, March 23.  It includes policies from more than two thirds of the 50 states. To protect public school children, all states should immediately apply for waivers of federal assessment mandates and cancel ALL other testing requirements!  Maintaining any standardized exam mandates in a climate dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic would be irresponsible from an educational, public health or equity perspective

National All States Can Cancel Standardized Tests This Year
https://chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2020/03/20/states-no-standardized-tests-this-year-trump-devos/
National Tested (or Not) by the Coronavirus
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/were-being-tested-by-the-coronavirus-in-many-ways--not-even-student-exams-are-immune/2020/03/18/3b118b30-685d-11ea-9923-57073adce27c_story.html

Alabama State Files for Testing Waiver
https://www.clantonadvertiser.com/2020/03/20/alabama-dept-of-education-applies-for-testing-waiver/

Arizona Bill Calls for Tests to Be Postponed or Cancelled, Depending on Schools Reopening
https://www.abc15.com/news/state/arizonas-schools-could-remain-closed-through-end-of-school-year
Arizona Maybe Coronavirus Will Finally Kill Teaching to the Test
https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/greg-moore/2020/03/19/coronavirus-kill-teaching-standardized-test-arizona-schools/2869500001/

Arkansas State Testing Called Off for all Students
https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/mar/21/year-end-testing-off-for-state-s-studen/?news-arkansas

California Governor Issues Executive Order Cancelling Standardized Testing
https://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2020/03/20/governor-newsom-issued-executive-order-cancel-statewide-testing/2883596001/

Colorado Tests Cancelled for 2020 Due to Coronavirus
https://www.coloradopolitics.com/news/chalkbeat-colorado-will-cancel-state-tests-in-light-of-coronavirus/article_ffa6331a-6876-11ea-be8a-3fc5e00f3b32.html

Connecticut State Seeks Federal Testing Waiver Suspending Annual Assessments
https://www.sheltonherald.com/news/article/State-seeks-waiver-suspending-annual-assessment-15143374.php

Florida All K-12 School Testing Scrapped for the Year
https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/03/17/florida-scraps-testing-k-12-testing-students-to-stay-home-through-april-15-desantis-says/

Georgia State Suspends Year-End School Tests
https://www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/georgia-suspends-milestones-test-face-coronavirus-crisis/WUX77qSmkfn8Y8tb4njVgJ/

Indiana Governor Cancels All Standardized Tests for Academic Year
https://www.ibj.com/articles/indiana-orders-schools-closed-until-may-1-cancels-standardized-tests

Kentucky State Education Department Will Seek Testing Waiver
https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/education/2020/03/20/coronavirus-kentucky-state-k-prep-testing-canceled-due-covid-19/5061343002/

Louisiana Feds Approve Testing Waiver Request
https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/coronavirus/article_3f48c24e-6b6f-11ea-a5fa-a3e85296b806.html
Louisiana Governor Agrees with Educators and Legislators to Waive School Testing for 2020
https://www.katc.com/news/covering-louisiana/bese-president-approves-waivers-of-school-and-day-care-rules

Maine Federal Testing Waiver Sought
https://mainedoenews.net/2020/03/16/federally-required-state-assessment-an-update/

Massachusetts Legislature Must Act to Waive State Testing Requirements
https://patch.com/massachusetts/tewksbury/coronavirus-ma-impact-mcas-sat-act-ap-other-tests

Michigan No Students Will Have to Take State Assessments This Year
https://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20200322/michigan-students-wont-have-to-take-m-step-other-assessments
Cancellation of Tests Allow Will Allow State to Defer Implementation of Third Grade Promotion Exam
https://chalkbeat.org/posts/detroit/2020/03/20/likely-cancellation-of-all-state-tests-would-allow-michigan-to-put-third-grade-reading-law-on-hold-for-a-year/

Mississippi State Department of Health Calls for Cancelling School Tests
https://www.wapt.com/article/proposal-suggest-to-suspend-all-state-and-federal-assessments/31694563

Missouri Commissioner Cancels All 2020 School Exams
https://dailyjournalonline.com/news/local/education/schools/no-map-tests-for-students-this-year/article_09d2f3e6-f309-569d-97be-44eb4eda0a1b.html

Montana Feds Asked to Waive All Testing Requirements
https://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/opi-seeking-waiver-for-all-school-testing/article_cb194186-00df-5a5b-bc62-350e404d0db1.html

Nevada Federal Testing Waiver Sought
https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/education/nevada-seeks-waiver-from-federal-student-testing-requirement-1987274/

New Jersey Will State Leaders Cancel Spring 2020 Testing?
https://www.nj.com/education/2020/03/should-nj-cancel-standardized-tests-because-of-the-coronavirus.html
New Jersey Why Scrapping Testing This Year Is a Good Idea
http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2020/03/why-scrapping-school-testing-this-year.html

New York State Officials Left to Decide on High School Regents Exams
https://www.newsday.com/news/health/coronavirus/testing-on-long-island-1.43348076
New York Pressure Grows for Complete Cancellation of 2020 State Tests
https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/03/19/calls-grow-for-state-exams-to-be-canceled-amid-coronavirus-pandemic

North Carolina Lawmakers Must Act to Pursue Federal Testing Waiver
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article241368641.html

Ohio State Still Needs to Cancel Its Own Testing Requirements
https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local-education/feds-waive-school-testing-mandate-this-year-ohio-next-steps-unclear/UqcZsLnhW3TDUfWCWiTvUL/

Oklahoma State Pursuing Testing Waiver
https://www.kgou.org/post/oklahoma-will-not-have-spring-assessment-testing-year-0

Oregon Federal Waiver Filed to Cease School Testing
http://www.nrtoday.com/news/health/coronavirus/oregon-to-apply-for-waivers-cease-standardized-testing-for-a/article_9f98399c-14d8-55f5-8a92-74bf7c5afee2.html

Pennsylvania State Department of Education Cancels Spring 2020 Testing
https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/education/2020/03/19/should-school-standardized-tests-waived-pandemic/2868974001/

South Carolina State Intends to Suspend Federally Required Testing for Public Schools
https://www.wltx.com/article/news/education/south-carolina-intends-suspend-federally-required-testing-public-schools/101-0eba8d2f-022e-4d9c-9bf2-190f71bc1a75

Tennessee Legislature Unanimously Approves 2020 Exam Cancellation, Waives All Test Consequences
https://www.columbiadailyherald.com/news/20200319/lawmakers-approve-bill-to-cancel-tnready-standardized-assessment

Texas Annual School Testing Requirement Suspended
https://www.tpr.org/post/texas-staar-test-requirements-waived-due-coronavirus-outbreak

Vermont Feds Give Preliminary Approval to Testing Waiver
https://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/us-waives-testing-requirements-for-vermont-schools,600588

Virginia Testing Waiver Will Be Sought
https://www.starexponent.com/news/virginia-will-seek-federal-waiver-for-student-tests-sol-cancellations/article_0d6c7f31-ecee-5dc9-a994-cca2ccea3ba3.html

Washington All Testing Cancelled for This School Year
https://www.k12.wa.us/about-ospi/press-releases/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-resources#dexp-accordion-item
Washington With State Tests Cancelled, High Schools Await Guidance on Graduation Standards
https://tdn.com/news/local/with-state-testing-cancelled-schools-are-waiting-for-state-guidance/article_11862ba3-5b1d-5d96-9133-3827c73ceb4e.html

West Virginia State Moving Ahead to Cancel Standardized Testing Without Federal OK
https://www.wvgazettemail.com/coronavirus/wv-moving-ahead-with-plan-to-cancel-standardized-testing-without/article_5ff33ac3-8581-5b7b-becd-51c76d07241b.html

Wisconsin Testing Waiver Sought
https://dpi.wi.gov/news/releases/2020/dpi-updates-guidance-districts-during-covid-19-school-closures

Wyoming Federal Waiver Allows Students to Avoid Annual Testing
https://buckrail.com/wyoming-may-scrub-education-assessment-test-in-light-of-challenging-classroom-environment/

University Admissions Case Western Reserve Drops ACT/SAT Requirement
https://thedaily.case.edu/cwru-leaders-authorize-test-optional-admissions-for-students-entering-in-fall-2021/
University Admission March 2020 Law School Test Cancelled
https://www.lsac.org/update-coronavirus-and-lsat

International Ontario Canada Cancels All Standardized Exams Due to Pandemic
https://www.cp24.com/news/ontario-cancels-standardized-tests-for-students-due-to-pandemic-1.4857479
International United Kingdom Cancels A-Level and GCSE Exams Cancelled
https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/18/level-gcse-exams-cancelled-coronavirus-pandemic-schools-close-12420035/

Worth Reading Scrap This Year's Big Standardized Tests
http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2020/03/scrap-big-standardized-test.html

Bob Schaeffer, interim Executive Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office: (239) 395-6773   mobile: (239) 699-0468
email: bobschaeffer@fairtest.org