“The main purpose of standardized tests in schools is to give educators an objective, unbiased perspective of how effective their instruction is. Standardized testing helps identify the natural aptitudes of individual students. Identifying skill development and progress is made possible by the use of standardized tests.” (https://www.practicaladultinsights.com/what-is-the-purpose-of-standardized-tests-in-schools.htm )

Federal education requirements for standardized testing have varied during the pandemic period that includes March 2020 through the present (school year 2021-2022).  At the outset, testing requirements were waived entirely.  Then, when it appeared the pandemic threat was waning, the Department of Education re-instated standardized testing requirements.  For the 2021-2022 school year, with many states experiencing increasing levels of the COVID 19 Delta variant, U.S. Department of Education standardized testing rules have changed again.

 

FEDERAL EDUCATION LAW 2021-2022

In a Feb. 22 memo to state officials (https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-releases-guidance-states-assessing-student-learning-during-pandemic ), the department announced that states must once again issue standardized tests through 2021 and report results to gauge student progress. The move to reinstate testing comes after states, including California, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Michigan and Georgia, have discussed cancelling standardized testing altogether this spring, citing concerns about testing students during remote and virtual learning.

 

In the February 22 memo, the DOE also stated that:

 

It is urgent to understand the impact of COVID-19 on learning. We know, however, that some schools and school districts may face circumstances in which they are not able to safely administer statewide summative assessments this spring using their standard practices.

 

We emphasize the importance of flexibility in the administration of statewide assessments. A state should use that flexibility to consider: 

  • Administering a shortened version of its statewide assessments; 
  • Offering remote administration, where feasible; and/or 
  • Extending the testing window to the greatest extent practicable. That could include offering multiple testing windows and/or extending the testing window into the summer or even the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. States that elect to extend testing windows should also consider how they can make results available to the public in a timely manner after assessments are administered.”

 

Education policy organizations and teachers’ unions have expressed displeasure with the move to resume testing.  Some states are still pushing for federal waivers altogether.

 

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FAIRTEST) announced in April that more than 1400 U.S. schools will not require ACT/SAT scored for 2022 admission. (https://fairtest.org/1400-us-fouryear-colleges-and-universities-will-no

Some schools require such scores, but do not require the essay section on the SAT or ACT. (The essay portion for SAT has been discontinued effective 2021.)

By means of example, Cornell University will evaluate applications without standardized testing “for All Applicants to Current and Future Terms.”

Be sure to check whether or not your college or university of choice requires entrance testing before you begin the application process.

 

HOMESCHOOLS

For homeschools, assessment requirements vary from state-to-state.

In Nevada, there are no standardized test requirements for homeschooled students. 

Starting in fourth grade, New York homeschoolers are required to take nationally approved achievement tests every other year. These serve as the year-end assessments required for those years. Then, in 9th grade, homeschoolers will begin taking the achievement tests annually. Examples of approved tests include the Iowa Basics Skills Test, the California Achievement Test, the PASS test, and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. 

CA has no specific assessment requirements.

The message is – be sure you understand SY 2021-2022 assessment requirements for your state before you register your student in a homeschool.

For more information about homeschool laws in your state visit https://www.homeschoolfacts.com/state-laws.html.

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