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Federal government is waiving school standardized test requirements amid virus disruptions

Trump says federal government is waiving school standardized test requirements amid virus disruptions

State education officials look into SOL test waivers
State education officials look into SOL test waivers

WASHINGTON – President Trump announced Friday that the federal government is waiving school standardized test requirements amid virus disruptions.

This comes as Virginia and many other states were asking for statewide exemptions.

Upon a proper request, the U.S. Department of Education will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.

“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn. Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment. Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions. I’ve spoken with many local education leaders in the past days, and I’m inspired by their efforts to help their students continue to learn and grow. We’re going to continue to provide every flexibility possible to help make that as simple as possible,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced Tuesday that the Virginia Department of Education needs “maximum flexibility," including relief from federal and state requirements related to testing.

The U.S. Department of Education also says to protect students’ health and safety, a state that deems it necessary should proceed with cancelling its statewide assessments for the 2019-2020 school year. Since student performance, as measured by assessments, is required to be used in statewide accountability systems, any state that receives a one-year waiver may also receive a waiver from the requirement that this testing data be used in the statewide accountability system due to the national emergency.

The Department will continue to speak with state and local leaders to identify any additional needed flexibilities, and it remains in coordination with Congress on expanding the range of flexibilities available to the Department under law.


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