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March 22, 2021 Group Watch: AL Schools Resuming Standardized Testing

Standardized testing resumed in school districts across Alabama last week. The federal requirement to test all students, first demanded under the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, remains in place. While Superintendent Eric Mackey says he plans to ask federal officials to waive the high federal bar set for the number of students who must be tested, the state must still assess at least some students this year in reading, math and science. Last year, all testing was canceled after schools were closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. School officials say these tests are important in order to determine what students have and haven’t learned in the previous year. This is the first time in 21 years that the state will actually be able to use the state assessment for the purpose for which it was designed, according to Mackey. The results will be used to make adjustments in teaching and instruction. The test is fully online, with paper tests only offered to students who have a specific documented need. There is no take-from-home version, so all students, even those learning remotely will have to come to school for the test.

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