Illinois moves toward canceling spring standardized tests for all students

  • Students work on math during AP Calculus class at St. Charles North High School. State education officials are working with the College Board to push the SAT college entrance exam for all current 11th-graders to this fall.

      Students work on math during AP Calculus class at St. Charles North High School. State education officials are working with the College Board to push the SAT college entrance exam for all current 11th-graders to this fall. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 3/25/2020 7:22 PM

All standardized tests for Illinois students are likely to be canceled this spring as state education officials work toward securing a waiver from the federal government and seek an exemption from state law requirements.

The Illinois State Board of Education earlier this week submitted a statewide waiver application to the U.S. Department of Education to waive all federally required assessments, summative designations and reporting on accountability metrics on the Illinois Report Card for the 2019-20 school year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

All public and private schools statewide are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak through April 7, but it is feared the shutdown could be extended.

The federal government has accepted the waiver, so state education officials now are seeking that same flexibility in state law to officially cancel all assessments for this school year, state board spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said Wednesday.

That includes the Illinois Assessment of Readiness in English language arts and mathematics administered to all students in third through eighth grades, as well as the SAT college entrance exam taken by 11th-graders in April.

Cancellation of state assessments require approval by either an executive order from the governor or through legislative action.

"We are working on it as we speak," said Matthews, adding state approval could come within the next few days.

Matthews said the state board is working with the College Board to make the SAT available to current 11th-graders for free in the fall. It will not serve as an accountability measure for schools, she added.

There will be no assessment results on the Illinois Report Card released in October.

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