NYS Education Department submits federal waivers to forego required testing in 2020-2021 school year


ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York State Education Department submitted federal waivers on Friday related to state assessments and accountability requirements.

New York State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced that two waivers were submitted to the federal government on Friday.

Commissioner Rosa announced that the first waiver requested approval to forego state testing requirements at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The waiver would also allow NYSED to administer the New York State English as Second Language Achievement Test only to those English Language Learners.

The State’s second waiver sought to eliminate the requirement to assign a Level 1 to 4 to each accountability subgroup for areas of improvement in New York State school districts. These accountability requirements currently would identify schools for improvement in Fall 2021 based on 2020-2021 results.

According to Commissioner Rosa, the request to eliminate these requirements was based on feedback from educators and parents.

“We heard from educators and parents from across the state on this important decision,” stated Commissioner Rosa. “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and strengthens our resolve that our schools and students would be best served by waiving testing and accountability requirements. We continue to work with schools to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone in our schools during this challenging time.”

According to NYSED, the first request also includes the exemption of the administration og USE required end-of-course exams from certain grades. This includes Regents Exams in English language arts, math and science.

NYSED also stated that upon approval of either or both of these waivers by the United States Department of Education, the Department will seek a third waiver regarding certain ESSA reporting requirements pertaining to assessments and accountability.

The New York State Education Department posted draft texts of these waivers on its website for public comments on January 25, 2021. The public comment period ended on February 5, 2021. The Department received 468 formal public comments and over 39 thousand Reponses to the survey.

By federal law, the U.S. Secretary of Education has 120 days to act upon these request. NYSED shared however, that they are hopeful for an expedited response.

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