U.S. Department of Education denies state request to forego this year’s assessments | Education | #Education

ALBANY — The U.S. Department of Education has denied a waiver request from the state Education Department to forego state assessments this year. But the assessments which begin this month and the Regents exams in June will be scaled back, and the August Regents exams will be canceled.

Only Section 1 of the Math and English Language Arts assessments for grades three through eight will administered rather than two sessions, and only the written test component of the grades four and eight Science assessments will be administered.

The grades three through eight English Language Arts assessment is scheduled to be administered from April 19 to April 29, and the grades three through eight Mathematics assessment is scheduled to be administered from May 3 to May 14. The grade four and eight Science assessment is scheduled to be administered from June 7 to June 11.

Only the Regents examinations required under the Every Student Succeeds Act will be administered in June. Those are English Language Arts, Algebra 1, Earth Science and Living Environment.

“The U.S. Department of Education chose not to approve New York’s waiver request to forego state assessments this year. In the face of a worldwide pandemic, we believe cancelling state assessments would be the most appropriate and fair thing to do in the best interest of our students and we are deeply disappointed in USDE’s decision,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. and state Education Department Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said in a combined statement.

“In a state as large and diverse as New York, one size does not fit all. We are providing as much flexibility for schools as possible within USDE requirements. Accordingly, no students should be brought into school just to take a state assessment,” they said.

They said the U.S. Department of Education had previously agreed to “uncouple state assessments from ESSA requirements, including the 95% participation rate for the assessments, so any results from this year’s administrations will be used solely as a measure of student learning.”

In March, state Education Department officials had announced their plans for test administration if the waiver request was denied by the U.S. Department of Education.

“With the COVID-19 crisis still affecting the State of New York and students having varied levels of in-person instruction, the Board and the Department are taking necessary steps to provide essential flexibility for the State’s students, families and educators,” they said in a March news release.

The Board of Regents agreed to amend regulations to allow students who have met the standards for the course of study, as determined locally, to be eligible for an exemption to the Regents examination requirements. In order to qualify for the exemption to the diploma requirements, students must meet one of the following criteria:

— The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents Examination and by the end of the 2021 school year, or the 2021 summer session, will have earned credit in such course of study;

— The student was previously enrolled in the course culminating in the applicable Regents examination, has achieved course credit, and has not yet passed the associated required Regents examination but was intending to take the test in June or August 2021 to achieve a passing score; or

— The student is in grade seven or eight, is enrolled in a course of study culminating in taking a Regents examination and has met the standards assessed in the provided coursework.

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