State Supt. to request federal waiver suspending state testing for school year

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 19, 2020) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced today that the State Department of Education plans to pursue a federal waiver to suspend statewide student assessments for the 2019-20 school year.

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“Oklahomans, like all Americans, are seeking to ‘flatten the curve’ of a global pandemic. Our foremost concern is ensuring our students and school communities remain as safe and healthy as possible, which is why the State Board of Education voted earlier this week to cease all school operations until at least April 6, and possibly longer,” said Hofmeister. 

“Our educators and district leaders need to shift their focus from assessments to essential services, including child nutrition and planning to continue student learning through alternative delivery methods. Their priority cannot be with assessments that would be of questionable validity in the wake of a global pandemic. Assessments are very important tools, but they do not outweigh other considerations during this time of uncertainty.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires each state to administer academic assessments in English language arts, mathematics and science in grades 3-8 as well as once in high school. The U.S. Department of Education has indicated it would consider waiver requests from states with widespread closures related to the spread of COVID-19. 

The waiver request will also seek suspension of the Oklahoma School Report Card for the current school year. The pandemic has spurred at least 39 states to close schools statewide.

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