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Secretary DeVos Underscores Importance of Statewide Assessments This School Year


Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos penned a letter to chief state school officers that laid out the importance of assessing student performance, particularly this school year.

DeVos highlighted the need to use data to inform how to close gaps caused by school closures due to the pandemic, which she acknowledged have disproportionately impacted students with disabilities, low-income students, and students of color.

DeVos defended the Department’s decision to issue waivers to all states last school year when, amidst the onset of the pandemic, it was unclear what the virus’s impact would be and how tests could be practically administered. This year will be different.

The letter reads:
"It is now our expectation that states will, in the interest of students, administer summative assessments during the 2020-2021 school year, consistent with the requirements of the law and following the guidance of local health officials. As a result, you should not anticipate such waivers being granted again."

DeVos noted that her position on assessments is aligned with a bipartisan coalition made up of business and civil rights groups, and that parents also seek information about how school closures impacted learning.

View DeVos's letter

Posted:  10 September, 2020

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