State assessment tests still on despite calls to cancel

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: October 01, 2020 11:13 PM
Created: October 01, 2020 10:30 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Education leaders are moving forward with state assessment tests. The U.S. Secretary of Education and the New York State Education Department sent letters to school districts across our area announcing they plan to give the exams next spring.

This despite a push to cancel them due to the COVID-19 pandemic. News10NBC spoke with one Monroe County school official about the plan.

Sherry Johnson is the Executive Director at the Monroe County School Board Association. This week, schools all across New York received letters from the State Education Department laying out its plans to resume assessments of students from third to eighth grades.

"What the Secretary of Education has pretty much said last year all 50 states got waivers for '3, 3-8 testing' because of the COVID-19 emergency. What the Department of Education is saying this year is that there aren't going to be at this point waivers for the tests," said Johnson.

Each spring students take an English Language Assessment in April followed by a Math Assessment in May. Parents as well as some school districts are concerned how these tests will be given. In the letter it reads in part, "Assessments will be "school-based," and "in-person." Johnson says this has to do with safety protocols even though she says testing will most likely be taken online.

"They all will be in the same environment that they need to make sure that the machinery is working, that they're comfortable where they are, and that they have no interruptions while they're taking the test," said Johnson.

Advocates seeking another suspension of the tests, also have some concerns when it comes to students preparing for their exams in the middle of a pandemic.

"I think what parents need to be doing is what parents are doing right now," said Johnson. She continued, "You know helping their kids, make sure they're accessing, and engaging the learning that's being supplied by schools."

Although these letters were sent, Johnson says nothing is set in stone.

"These are the letters that have to go in order to make sure that school districts are following the protocols, and procedures for making sure there prepared for a full slate of standardized assessments come spring," said Johnson.

Both the Board of Regents, and State Education Department say they will rely on relevant public health and educational data as they make their ultimate decision over the next few months.


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