State Board of Ed. unanimously adopts resolution urging legislature to waive some student assessments

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:20 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Tests can be nerve wracking under normal circumstances, and this year students have had to deal with the complications brought on by the pandemic. The State Board of Education took this into consideration Tuesday, unanimously adopting a resolution that urges Michigan legislators to waive all state laws that require students be given “summative assessments.”

The waiver would be for the 2020-2021 school year, and would only become relevant if the US Department of Education (USED) granted the same waiver.

Summative assessments evaluate student learning and academic achievement at the end of a term, year or semester by comparing it against a universal standard. They are often used to determine how much funding a school gets and this year, the Board of Education is urging state legislators to waive them for this year if possible.

“I think that of all years, it is safe to say that this year is one in which giving a state summative assessment makes absolutely no sense,” said State Board of Education President Dr. Casandra Ulbrich.

Dr. Ulbrich pointed out that there could be more problems with giving summative assessments this year than what students have experienced. There’s also logistics to consider.

“You cannot give these tests remotely and accurately, in which case the data will lack both validity and reliability. The resulting data will be fundamentally flawed,” Dr. Ulbrich said. “And yet, if we continue down this road, we will be making high stakes decisions that could include holding children back based on a summative assessment at a time when they are taking these tests in extremely challenging circumstances.”

The resolution states that given the presence of benchmark assessments, schools need to continue focusing as much time as possible on the academic and social emotional needs of their students.

For the 2019-2020 school year, the U.S. Secretary of Education approved the requests of the Michigan Department of Education and other states to waive state summative assessments and associated high-stakes accountability requirements tied to those assessments.

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