The Colorado lawmaker is forging ahead with efforts to suspend state testing despite federal requirements

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More in chalkbeat.org.

A sponsor of a bill seeking to suspend Colorado standardized exams this year thinks the state could use other tests that most students already take and still adhere to federal testing rules.

to me I sent the message on Monday By Ian Rosenblum, Acting Assistant Secretary of Education, Countries are calling for standardized testing this year, Despite the epidemic turmoil. Rosenblum wrote that the US Department of Education would provide flexibility but not “blanket waivers” to federal testing requirements.

State Senator Rachel Zinsinger, Arvada Democrat and chair of the Senate Education Committee, said this provides an opportunity for her bill, which would State education officials are ordered to seek a federal waiver Suspend the Colorado Administration for Academic Success Metrics, or CMAS, if this application is successful.

“I see it positive,” Zinsinger said of the guidelines in the federal letter. “They didn’t say you couldn’t apply for a waiver. That allows us to customize our waiver to show that we can provide what they want, which is actionable data to guide support for students.”

At least one state, Michigan, It has previously indicated that it will seek to rely on benchmark assessments Schools are already using it to track student progress to meet federal test requirements.

Zenzinger said Colorado could take a similar approach to a waiver request by making data from MAP tests available to the public for parents and the wider community. The Academic Progress Meter tests are designed by the nonprofit testing organization NWEA, and most Colorado areas use them to assess student learning multiple times a year.

Zinsinger said the sponsors of the bill are working on an amendment that would incorporate the idea. The Bill The first hearing is scheduled for Thursday before the House Education Committee.

Both federal and state law require states to take a set of standardized tests.

School boards, supervisors and teachers’ unions He called for the exams to be canceled this year. They say administering the tests poses major logistical challenges, including recalling the computers students use for distance learning, and will rule out educational time without providing correct data.

Proponents of testing, including many educational advocacy groups, stress the importance of collecting data on how academically significant students who have encountered significant learning disorders are performing.

For opponents of the test this year, a federal waiver is key. Without it, Colorado would risk losing millions of dollars in federal funding.

It is unclear how the federal government will receive exemption requests seeking to replace statewide assessments with county-level tests – or whether the proposal will satisfy applicants’ concerns locally.

The letter addressed to state education officials repeatedly refers to “Final statewide evaluations.”

The letter describes assessments as an important tool for understanding what students have learned and what not learned this year. The oath does not call for “blanket concessions.” It also offers several suggestions to make testing easier, including shortening and managing tests remotely, and expanding the test window.

Zenzinger said these solutions will not work in Colorado for a number of reasons, including that the testing provider in the state does not allow testing at home, although tens of thousands of students are still learning remotely.

Zinsinger said she expects large numbers of families to withdraw from CMAS if awarded this year, while nearly all students take MAP tests, providing more valid data. It also hopes that the raw data will be available before the School Finance Act is finalized, allowing lawmakers to send more resources to students who need more help.

Chalkbeat is a non-profit news site that covers educational change in public schools.

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