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U.S. Department of Education waives standardized testing for S.C.

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The U.S. Department of Education has approved a waiver request from the S.C. Department of Education to suspend student assessments and waive certain accountability measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For spring 2020, South Carolina will not administer SC READY, SC PASS, end-of-course exams, pre-kindergarten assessments and alternate assessments.

“The suspension of South Carolina’s student assessments will allow educators to focus on meeting the needs of students and relieve undue anxiety faced by parents and students,” State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “Our efforts must be concentrated on addressing this unprecedented public health pandemic.”

A news release from the S.C. department said the agency is working with vendors of college entrance, college credit and workforce readiness assessments to explore different ways of testing, such as online.

Where possible, districts may administer Advanced Placement, SAT, ACT and WIN Ready to Work assessments, the release said.

Most schools in South Carolina have been closed since March 16, per the order of Gov. Henry McMaster. They are to stay closed through the end of the month in an effort to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

At a news conference with the governor on Monday, Spearman said she has met with superintendents and instructional leaders, and they anticipate coming out with an action plan this week on handling things like graduations.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to make this as smooth as possible with our students and our faculty and our teachers at the top of the priority list,” Spearman said.

She and McMaster released a statement this afternoon that schools would remain closed through the rest of April.

At this time, students, parents, and families should plan for South Carolina’s schools to remain closed through the month of April,” the statement said. Our dedicated teachers and school administrators have done a tremendous job in making it possible for our students to learn at home. We understand that the prospect of schools remaining closed for an extended period of time places stress and strain on parents and children. Rest assured, if there is any way to safely open our schools earlier, we will do that, but schools must remain closed to protect the health and safety of South Carolinians.”

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