All4Ed, and our partner organizations, recognize the immense challenges that the U.S. Department of Education faces in tackling the COVID-19 crisis. We also recognize that states face difficulties in administering assessments this spring, including managing a mix of in-person and remote instruction and technical challenges. The Department has an opportunity to support states by providing technical assistance, funding flexibility, and guidance, and states have had several months to prepare for statewide administration. As state leaders, policymakers, and families continue to navigate this uniquely challenging time and take steps to accelerate learning, it is imperative that they have accurate information on how students are performing, so that scarce resources can be directed to the students, schools and districts that need them most.
To that end, we urge the Department to refrain from issuing waivers to states that would allow them to bypass student assessment requirements for the 2020-21 school year and instead ask that you call on all states to administer summative statewide assessments. We continue to support the Department’s November 2020 guidance regarding assessments and accountability, Frequently Asked Questions Impact of COVID-19 on Accountability Systems Required under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), which appropriately calls upon states to implement federal equity guardrails established under the ESEA while allowing time-limited flexibility, where necessary, for states to adapt accountability systems due to COVID-19.
Download the full letter below.