COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina)- State Superintendent Molly Spearman hosted a press conference on Monday where she discussed how end-of-the-year testing will take place in South Carolina schools.
Superintendent Spearman says that end-of-the-year testing must take place in person this year.
The SC Department of Education previously submitted a federal waiver to request that three interim assessments take the place of end-of-the-year testing. However, Spearman said Monday that the Biden administration denied the waiver
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said in a press release, “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. Assessments play an important role in determining how students are faring and our proposal to use a series of interim tests that can be easily administered to all students - both virtual and face to face - would have provided educators and families with immediate, student centered results to drive instruction and deploy resources to support struggling learners. 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, when 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.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Education, families that believe it is unsafe for their child to go to school for the sole purpose of taking a test, they will not be required to complete the assessments.
Schools are encouraged to give students a third interim assessment, especially for those who will not participate in end-of-the-year testing.
Spearman's spokesman Ryan Brown added in an email that "there will be no penalty at the student, teacher, school, district or state level for a student who does not complete the applicable assessment(s). The USDE has stated that they 'do not believe that if there are places where students are unable to attend school safely in person because of the pandemic that they should be brought into school buildings for the sole purpose of taking a test.' Thus, if a family believes it is unsafe for their child to attend school in person to take assessments, the SCDE and school districts will not require them to do so."
Brown said school districts will continue to use interim assessment data for any student who does not participate in testing to inform instruction, intervention, summer learning, and learning loss/unfinished learning plans for 2021-22 and beyond.
For more information concerning the South Carolina Department of Education's policies concerning COVID-19, please visit COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and South Carolina Schools.