Virginia Dept. of Education requests flexibility in federal, state testing requirements


(Photo: Courtesy MGN)

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) –The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is seeking relief and flexibility for schools from federal and state testing requirements.

The timing of the public school shut down mandated by Gov. Ralph Northam to minimize the spread of COVID-19, was not the most convenient for students in K-12 preparing for or taking a state-mandated standardized test.

Eighth-graders and high school students were in the middle of taking Standards of Learning writing exams when Virginia public schools were ordered to shut down, said Superintendant of Public Instruction James Lane in a statement.

The Virginia Department of Education is in communication with the U.S. Department of Educations to increase flexibility in federal requirements.

Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law, requires annual testing in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school. It also requires a science test at least once during elementary, middle and high school.

“Given what we are now hearing about the potential duration of the coronavirus pandemic, we now have to seek further flexibility related to state testing. To do this, the Commonwealth must have relief from the annual testing requirements under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education said it would consider issuing waivers for individual schools impacted by COVID-19. We are beyond that now, and ask our federal partners for a process to grant statewide relief so states and schools can focus on the health and well-being of students.”

James Lane, Virginia Department of Education Superintendent of Public Instruction

Virginia Board of Education will review state testing requirements and school regulation regulations and determine actions that can be taken to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on school accreditation, said the board president Daniel Gecker.

“I want students and parents to know that Governor Northam and I are committed to taking every step possible to minimize the impact of coronavirus on students and to ensure that our seniors are able to graduate,” the superintendent said.


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