The state Education Department, along with other states, had asked the U.S. Department of Education to waive all state assessments this academic year. But, on Feb. 22, all states received a letter from the U.S. Department of Education, notifying them that they would not approve a blanket waiver for state assessments.
U.S. Department of Education officials said states could still apply for waivers that would allow them to make other adjustments to address issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After receiving that notification, SED officials announced they would “propose a series of regulatory amendments at the March Board of Regents meeting so Regents Exams would not be required to meet graduation requirements and to cancel any Regents Exam that is not required by USDE to be held.” The Board of Regents meets Monday and Tuesday.
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires that students be assessed once in high school in English language arts, mathematics and science. To stay in compliance with the federal requirements, the state Education Department will propose administering four Regents examinations in June — Algebra I, English Language Arts, Living Environment and Physical Setting/Earth Science.
SED will also propose canceling Regents exams that are not federally required — Algebra II, Geometry, Physical Setting/Chemistry, Physical Setting/Physics, Global History & Geography and United States History & Government.
SED will also propose canceling all Regents examinations scheduled for August.
“NYSED continues to pursue its request for a waiver from USDE to allow NYSED to cancel all of the June 2021 Regents Examinations. The Department continues to have discussions with USDE regarding this matter to find a path forward that is best for the health and safety of all New York’s children,” SED officials said in a March 2 memorandum to superintendents and principals.
The state Education Department had requested the assessment waiver from the U.S. Department of Education last month after determining that the spring state assessments could not be safely, equitably and fairly administered to all students across state because of the impact of COVID-19 in the delivery of instruction to students — in-person and/or remotely — and their social and emotional well-being.
“The Department believes that school instructional time would be best focused on supporting students in academics as well as social-emotional health rather than attempting to administer assessments to the limited population of students who are receiving in-person instruction,” officials said in the memo.
School officials will receive further guidance on testing from the state Education Department following next week’s Board of Regents meeting.