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John B. King, Jr. Describes Final ESSA Testing Regulations: Smarter Assessments Can Make Us All Smarter

John B. King, Jr. Describes Final ESSA Testing Regulations: Smarter Assessments Can Make Us All Smarter

Today, Education Secretary under the Obama Administration John B. King, Jr. announced the final regulations for testing under the Every Student Succeeds Act during today’s event: White House Convening on Creating Better, Fairer, and Fewer Tests.

"Today, the Department is releasing the final regulations for statewide assessments ... which clarify new flexibilities for states and districts to reduce testing and measure higher order thinking. To maintain effective protections, to preserve student civil rights and to ensure that assessments are fair and inclusive and to maximize the positive impact of transparent, consistent information about student learning and progress," King said during the event's opening remarks.

The Department announced the release of two final regulations that are designed to meet the goals King described.

Those regulations are:

  • The final regulation for state assessment systems under Title I, Part A

To ensure that tests are better, fairer and fewer, this final regulation sets parameters to ensure students with disabilities and who are English learners are included while still giving states more options to create innovative assessments.

Said King on the regulation: States now "have more flexibility than under NCLB in designing their assessment systems while maintaining important protections to preserve student civil rights including students with disabilities and students who are learning to speak English."

  • The final regulation under Title I, Part B

This regulation solidifies the plan for producing the next generation of state assessments. Up to seven states will be granted demonstration authority to "rethink assessment systems and pilot new, innovative approaches to measuring student achievement for use in their accountability systems."

In other words, states with this demonstration authority will be allowed to bypass regulations to pilot new assessments in a subset of their school districts.

"Through these and other efforts, states can go beyond multiple choice and short answer questions at the end of the school year that are so familiar to all of us," King said.

And even more ideally: "Students may even up liking these new kinds of assessments."

The Department also announced today the awarding of $8 million in grant money to "to the Maryland State Department of Education and the Nebraska Department of Education to develop new and innovative ways to measure science achievement that can serve as models for other states."

In accompaniment to its announcements, the Department created an updated version of the guidance released in February 2016 to support the Obama Administration’s original Testing Action Plan.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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