Another Example of “Flexibility” Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

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Politico’s Morning Education reports that the U.S. Department of Education will publish finalized standardized test rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

One of those rules is that states have to cap those who can use alternative tests at one percent of students in their state.

They write:

ESSA has a 1 percent cap on the number of students that states can test with alternate exams, which is typically reserved for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. States can request a waiver of that cap, but state and local education officials thought language proposed by the Education Department earlier this year would make it really burdensome for states to ask for and receive a waiver. In asking for a waiver, the draft rule said states must pay attention to school districts exceeding the 1 percent cap and school districts that “significantly contribute” to the state exceeding the cap — for example, districts that tested .9 percent of students on alternate tests. But now, the Education Department has taken a step back and just wants states to focus on districts that exceeded the cap.

The rules have also created a pilot program where up to seven states can experiment with “new and innovative tests.”

The pilot will allow states to experiment with new test formats, like competency-based tests, in which students might show they’ve mastered certain skills by applying them to a task or project they’d face in the real world. The Education Department wants states to experiment with these kinds of tests as long as they produce some kind of annual, grade-level score or evaluation for each student. States would have to prove that the results of the innovative tests are comparable to traditional state tests if they want to eventually take their pilot statewide. In the final regulation, the Education Department also stresses that test results should be comparable across districts participating in the pilot.

Yes, please tell me how ESSA returns control back to the states… what a crock.