SCDE asks for public input on state’s requested assessment waiver

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Education released an online survey requesting input on their requested assessment waiver to the United States Department of Education.

According to the release, public notice and an opportunity for public input are required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“It is critical that students, parents, educators, and anyone with a vested interest in our state’s K-12 public education system take a moment to offer their feedback on South Carolina’s waiver from federally mandated assessments for the 2020-2021 school year,” Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education, said. “As schools across our state reopen, we must focus on recouping the instruction time lost during COVID-19 school facility closures and ensuring that every member of the school community remains safe and healthy. Administering high stakes assessments in the current environment places undue stress on students, parents, and educators and takes time away from the classroom instruction and individualized support that every child needs.”

This summer, the South Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Henry McMaster passed Act 124, which allowed the SCDE to ask for a waiver for the 2020-21 federally-required assessments and other requirements, including:

  • SC READY, grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics;
  • SCPASS, grades 4 and 6 science;
  • End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) tests in Algebra 1, Biology 1, USHC, English 2, and English 1 (English 1 administered to specific students, as needed for accountability);
  • English learning proficiency exams (ACCESS for ELLs); and
  • All corresponding alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards.

According to the release, if the waiver is granted, the SCDE would not administer the exams listed above and the rating the district received last would stay in place until the SCDE resumes giving the exams.

One Anderson County resident believes the testing is needed either way.

“I think that finals and stuff are important,” said Madison Colondres, resident.

“Younger kids, I think it’s fine. They don’t need to take final test because I don’t think it’s that important for them, but when once they hit that high school age, i think it’s important,” Colondres added.

The SCDE will reportedly still prepare to administer the assessments until the USED grants the waiver.

To take the online survey, click here.

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