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Feds deny S.C. Dept. of Ed. request to waive end-of-year assessments

State Superintendent Molly Spearman said she’s alarmed by the increase in the number of failing...
State Superintendent Molly Spearman said she’s alarmed by the increase in the number of failing students.(Live 5)
Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman is disappointed the federal government denied the state’s request to waive end-of-school year testing.

“I am disappointed that despite submitting a well thought out plan which would have given actionable testing data to educators and families, the Biden administration has denied South Carolina’s testing waiver request,” Spearman said.

Dorchester District Two parent Martha Holder says she was hoping the U.S. Department of Education would waive summative testing like last year.

“While some students are flourishing others are not and it’s a whole new world for them,” Holder said. “I feel we need to support them more emotionally and not push for these high-stakes academic testing, that frankly I wasn’t a fan of even before the pandemic.”

The end-of-year assessment will go forward. However, Spearman says districts will no longer be required to have 95% of students take the end-of-year test.

State education officials say there will be no penalties to the student, school, district or state if a student does not complete the assessments.

State Education leaders say they can use test data from state interim assessments students have already taken to show how they are performing academically.

There are children who have been learning virtually all year and parents are concerned about them coming to school in-person to take these tests. While state education officials are encouraging them to come in, taking the test this year in not required.

For students who don’t complete the test, state officials are encouraging schools to offer another interim assessment that students can take at home.

The state assessment window will open April 15th. All districts must offer the assessments within the last thirty days of the school year.

“Unfortunately, as so often happens, Washington D.C. thinks they know best and now educators and students will be forced to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing, administering, and taking tests whose results won’t be known for months,” Spearman said. “They should be focused closing academic gaps and addressing the social and emotional needs of our students who have had the most stressful academic year ever.”

Officials with the Palmetto State Teachers Association released this statement on their Twitter account.

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