HELENA — Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen will submit a request to the U.S. Department of Education on February 5, 2021, to waive Montana’s federally mandated state standardized tests. Approximately 81,000 Montana students participate in the federally mandated test. The strategic waiver request will be for students in grades 3-8 and 11. These tests include general assessments and alternate assessments for math and English/language arts, including the ACT. These content area assessments are scheduled to begin in March. Superintendent Arntzen has already submitted an accountability and reporting field test waiver for the new three-dimensional science assessments on November 13, 2020.
“Families and educators are focused on assessing student learning at the local level while ensuring our communities are safe. The last thing that they need to worry about is a high-stakes standardized test,” Superintendent Arntzen said. “It is important to ensure any test provides meaningful data for learning, but due to COVID-19, the likelihood of receiving reliable and useful data from these assessments is low.”
If the U.S. Department of Education does not grant a waiver, Superintendent Arntzen has implemented a considerably shortened assessment. This will reduce testing time to support schools and preserve instructional time. The Office of Public Instruction will continue to explore options for schools to ensure safe participation. A medical exemption will be permitted.
For additional information, register here for the annual Montana OPI Assessment conference on January 28-29, 2021. To offer public comment, visit here.