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Alabama Dept. of Education applies for testing waiver

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Alabama Department of Education has applied for a waiver from the federal government for the state to skip state standardized tests this year.

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced earlier in the day that an “expedited waiver process would be setup” due to school closings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Accountability reporting will be waived for state school districts.

Chilton County Schools are closed until April 5, meaning students will be out for two weeks that had not been scheduled, in addition to spring break.

Dr. Eric Mackey, Alabama State Superintendent of Education said this process was set up to give approval within 24 hours of the application.

“We will not administer anymore state standardized tests this school year,” Mackey said during an internet streamed press conference on March 20. “I say anymore because some of our state testing has already occurred.”

The standardized test for grades second through eighth, the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program, had been set to take place within March 30 to May 1.

“Testing/assessment and the state report card are critical parts of the educational process,” Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin said. “However, we are grateful to the federal and state department of educations for waiving these requirements the remainder of the 2020 school year.  It will allow our students, faculty/staff and administrators to focus on returning to a sense of normalcy at some point and finishing the school year strong without worrying about standardized testing.

State report cards released for this school year will have the same ratings as last school year, since not all of the state tests were taken.

School systems will end the school year on their scheduled days. Since the school closings related to the corona virus were done when a state of emergency was declared, these days will not have to be made up.