A School Year Without State Tests?


Morgan Moomey, Staff Writer

It’s almost April, which means that if normal school was in session, standardized testing would be happening in the next few weeks. But, with the cancellation of school until May 1 due to Covid-19, what will happen to standardized tests?

According to education.ne.gov, “The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) is suspending summative statewide assessment, Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) for the 2019-2020 school year.” The NSCAS includes General, Alternate, and ACT tests. This is a rapidly changing situation. With that being said, the NDE does not have answers to every question just yet. Right now, they are more concerned with the health and safety of students, staff and community members.

This also brings up the question of how the current juniors will take their ACT test. As of right now, nothing is set in stone. The NDE is working to get information out quickly, but also to make sure that the information presented is accurate. The statement out as of now is, “The NDE is working with ACT to determine if all public high school third-year cohorts who would normally take the ACT as part of the statewide assessment may have the opportunity to take the ACT free-of-charge at a later date.” 

The NDE was legally allowed to “cancel” state assessments because the United States Department of Education (USDOE) granted a waiver of the required assessments. The USDOE also released many statements regarding COVID-19 and how it will affect standardized tests. The USDOE stated, 

“The Department generally does not grant statewide waivers of assessment requirements under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA. The reason is that assessments provide important information to parents, educators, and the public about how well students are doing at mastering a State’s content for each tested grade and subject. In cases where a school has been closed for a period of time, the assessment results still provide useful information about where individual students and groups of students will need support in the following school year. However, due to the unique circumstances that may arise as a result of COVID-19, such as a school closing during the entire testing window, it may not be feasible for a State to administer some or all of its assessments. In this case, the Department would consider a targeted one-year waiver of the assessment requirements for those schools impacted by the extraordinary circumstances.”