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U.S. waives testing requirements for Vermont schools

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MONTPELIER — The federal education department has given preliminary approval to Vermont's request to waive the testing and accountability requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vermont Agency of Education announced Monday.

The Every Student Succeeds Act, the law that sets the nation's K-12 education policy, became law in 2013, succeeding the No Child Left Behind Act.

The U.S. Department of Education had announced an expedited process on Friday to allow states to request a waiver from these testing and accountability requirements. The Agency of Education applied on Saturday and received the waiver Sunday.

"I am pleased our waiver request was processed so quickly," said Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French. "This waiver will allow us to prioritize our efforts for providing continued support, education and wellbeing of our students during this challenging time."

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Gov. Phil Scott required the closing of all pre-K through 12 schools by March 18 to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

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Scott asked the Agency of Education to "work with superintendents and local districts to ensure every child continues to receive the services they need from their schools, as well as assignments to take home to continue their academic studies."

This waiver means Vermont will be able to:

- Forgo administering some or all of the statewide assessments (the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC), the Next Generation Science Standards Assessment (VTSA), the Vermont Physical Education Assessment (VTPEA), and the Vermont Alternate

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Assessments (VTAA) in the spring of 2020;

- Not count 2019-2020 assessment data toward the requirement to identify Vermont schools as eligible for equity supports under ESSA; and

- Not count 2019-2020 assessment data toward school ratings on the Annual Snapshot.


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