Monday, May 10, 2021
May 10, 2021

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Standardized tests for Washington students delayed until fall 2021

Teachers union agrees with decision to cancel spring assessments

By , Columbian staff writer

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has announced students in Washington won’t have to take two standardized tests this spring.

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said OSPI is now planning for a fall 2021 assessment window for the Smarter Balanced Assessments and the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science to also follow a timeline “consistent with guidance provided by the (U.S. Department of Education) to satisfy federal testing requirements,” he said.

Last month, OSPI submitted a proposal to reduce the number of Washington students participating in the annual spring testing assessments, as the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on education continue. But according to Reykdal’s announcement Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education did not support the state’s plan.

“I want to thank the Department of Education for their consistent communication over the past several weeks,” Reykdal said. “In the end, we had different values. They were seeking to test as many students as possible this spring, and we know this approach did not support the mental health of Washington students; nor is it the best use of our limited remaining in-person instructional hours this spring.”

The Washington Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, agreed on the decision to forgo spring assessments.

“We believe that the current federal requirements are not serving students well and we support Superintendent Reykdal’s efforts to seek meaningful changes to federal and state laws,” union President Larry Delaney said. “We need to ensure that our students who have been hardest hit during the pandemic – our Black, brown, rural, Indigenous, and special needs students – receive the intensive support they need. If we want to meaningfully address opportunity gaps, we should put as much focus on the inputs necessary to successfully educate our students as we do on the outputs.”