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Representatives respond to government order on state testing

Published By WTOV 9 on March 3, 2021
Ron Ferguson In The News

State standardized testing appears to be a go -- after the federal government ordered states to continue with it.

Some flexibility could be offered, so now decisions have to be made.

Things like the timing are up in the air. This assessment will allow for officials to gauge where students stand, although officials are hoping students are not that far off target.

Representatives Don Jones and Ron Ferguson say that while there is no federal waiver, there is flexibility.

 “There are some options,” Jones said.

Now the state is looking into the changes that can be made.

"We are just wanting to go to the minimum required,” Jones said. “The second thing is we are going to expand the window of testing. Normally, testing is done in March or April. We are looking to expand that to the end of the school year.

"The results of the test are not going to be used in a punitive manner against schools. We aren’t going to use them to compare or rank schools.”

Jones says when it comes to specifics on the testing timeline, a lot of those decisions could rest in the hands of local schools.

"One of the recommendations from the federal government is we have to test 95 percent of students,” he said. “We are going to try to see if we can get a variant on that. Unfortunately, we found out last week there are about 57,000 students in the state we don’t know where they are at educationally.”

Part of the push for testing is the availability of CARES Act money, and the need to know where students stand.

“I think that answer will vary from different districts throughout the state,” Jones said. “Here locally, I think a lot of our schools have been face-to-face.”

Ferguson says you cannot make up for lost time.

“What is gone is gone,” he said. “What you can do is move forward.”

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