US Education Department Issues Guidance on 'Double Testing' Flexibility

Association of Educators
September 18, 2013 — 844 views  

The US Department of Education has given an offer to the different states to suspend the tests which are to be conducted in spring, if they administer field tests which are designed by the common-assessment consortia which includes math and English/Language arts. The States that take the option are not required to report the field tests results as stated in the federal guidance on statewide testing.

What the Law States

The assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education has written a letter to the state school superintendents explaining that this option is being carried out for the states so that they can make a smooth transition to reflect the Common Core State Standards testing regime. It is aimed at removing any potential for students from 'double testing' their students in this academic year (2013-14) by allowing states to create their own tests including field tests which are based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). This new option is an extension to the testing flexibility that was initially offered by the US secretary of Education in June, 2013.

What the Letter Said

The letter that was sent to the state school superintendents stated that the schools are allowed to provide a consortium field test or their very own tests on the condition that each student must take a complete test in English/Language Arts and Math. These states that exercise this option will not have to report their results. The field tests are designed to aid developers in their evaluation of the tests, technology platforms and individual items to see if they work as previously intended before operational administration. For those students who are still taking the statewide tests, state and district schools must continue to send the results to the Department of Education. Irrespective of whether the student chooses the field or state tests, the schools are required to file a report on the participation rates of these tests in total as well as the sub groups.

California Still not Impressed

The state of California is planning on setting aside its English/Language arts and Math tests for the year 2014 and until then are firm that they are conducting their tests in the best possible way. The states are aware that they are not in compliance with the federal testing guidelines, but they are definitely confident in the fact that with the help of Washington, they will be able to move towards their goal. The goal is to have an assessment that is modern in every aspect which supports the teaching and learning that is present in classrooms.

Association of Educators