DeVos Announces Cancellation Of Standardized Tests At K-12 Schools Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The New York Times (3/20, Green) reported “elementary and secondary schools will not be required to do standardized testing,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Friday. The testing waiver was “widely embraced by state and district superintendents who had been pressuring the department to issue expedited relief from federal testing mandates, which are tied to educational performance and accountability measurements in both state and federal law.” Districts were not only concerned with “how they would administer the exams, as nearly every state in the country announced their schools would close for weeks, maybe more, but how the results would be used.”

Students usually “take state tests in the spring,” but school closures are “likely to continue through the testing window,” USA Today (3/20, Richards) reported. Leaders in 19 states had “already announced the cancellation of annual exams, or that they would seek a federal waiver from the exams.” But the announcement from DeVos “ensures any ‘proper request’ from states to bypass testing requirements from 2019-’20 school year will be honored.” (Maine Department of Education has applied for the waiver from these tests, and expects to receive approval of the waiver any day now).

DeVos also said students “need to focus on staying healthy and continuing to learn during closures,” the AP (3/20, Binkley) reported. “Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time,” DeVos said. “Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment.”