Federal government denies S.C. request to drop end-of-year testing

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 1:17 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Students in South Carolina will undergo standardized testing this spring, despite a request to have those tests waived.

The South Carolina Department of Education asked the federal government to waive mandatory assessments.

That request was denied by the Biden administration, to the dismay of State Superintendent Molly Spearman.

“Our proposal to use a series of interim tests that can be easily administered to all students -- both virtual and face to face -- would have provided educators and families with immediate, student-centered results to drive instruction and deploy resources to support struggling learners,” Spearman said. “Washington D.C. thinks they know best and now educators and students will be forced to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing, administering, and taking tests whose (sic) results won’t be known for months.”

The state testing window will open April 15. Schools must complete assessments in the last 30 days of their school year.

Federally-required standardized tests in South Carolina include:

  • South Carolina College-and Career-Ready Assessments (SC READY) in English language arts and mathematics (grades 3-8)
  • South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SCPASS) in science (grades 4 and 6)
  • End-of-Course examinations in Biology, Algebra, U.S. History and the Constitution, and English (all grades)
  • English Language Proficiency and alternate assessments (when applicable)

While the testing requirement will stand, the U.S. Department of Education is being lenient with schools this year.

There will be no penalty -- at any level -- for a student not taking a test.

If parents do not want their children to go to school in-person to take the tests, the state will not require them to do so.

“While we encourage all students to participate, we are relying on and empowering families to make the best decision for their child when it comes to end-of-the-year tests,” Spearman said.

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