Testing in 2021
States receive money from the federal government based on the Every Student Succeeds Act, which requires 95% of eligible students to take standardized tests. Last year in 2020, because of the pandemic, the state of Michigan was given a waiver from the federal government so that standardized testing could be delayed until it was safe to administer tests again.
According to Anna Liz Nichols with US News, the request submitted by Michigan Superintendent Michael Rice mentioned that “Michigan can’t safely and uniformly administer a fair standardized test” due to the pandemic. “Inconsistent internet connection and distracted home environments make online test-taking unfair and accommodations for those with language barriers or disabilities are more difficult to provide during the pandemic.”
When it comes to standardized testing this year, the US Department of Education (USED) announced that states will be given flexibility for how tests will be given in 2021. Instead of waiving state assessment requirements like last year, states have been given the chance to submit state-specific waiver considerations. “The letter says there’s going to be no cookie-cutter approach like there was at the beginning of the pandemic last year,” Dr. Rice said. “What USED basically said was that it is open to considerations on the accountability side and a little less open on the assessment side.”