April 7, 2021: Statement from Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. and Commissioner Betty A. Rosa on USDE Denial of Assessment Waiver Request
On February 12, 2021, NYSED submitted a formal request to the United States Department of Education (USDE) to waive state testing requirements at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Pending a decision from the USDE regarding NYSED’s waiver request, we are sharing the following information as a means to prepare to proceed with the Spring 2021 test administrations.
- The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the Board of Regents continue to make their primary focus the physical and mental health, safety, and well-being of the children and adults in our schools.
- NYSED is providing schools much more flexibility than had been necessary in past years in the local in-school scheduling of the Spring 2021 operational tests.
- The operational test will not include any embedded field test questions. As a result, there will only be one form administered per grade and subject and all questions in Session 1 will contribute to student scores.
- Schools will have the option to administer the tests to students over the full duration of the testing window to accommodate instructional schedules. The testing window has been amended to reflect that schools may use the entire testing window:
- Monday, April 19 –Thursday, April 29 for ELA
- Monday, May 3 – Friday, May 14 for Mathematics
- Schools that are entirely remote during the entire testing window are not expected to re-open for the sole purpose of administering the tests.
For full remote students:
- The Department has determined that it will not be possible to administer any of this year’s State assessments remotely and, if they occur, assessments will be “school-based” and “in-person.”
- Schools are not expected to bring students into the building to participate in the tests if the students are receiving entirely remote instruction during the testing windows.
- NYSED suggests that schools consider contacting parents of students receiving entirely remote instruction to advise them of the testing schedule and ascertain the parent’s interest in having their child come to school to participate in the test.
For hybrid or face to face students:
- If the assessment waiver request is not granted by USDE, for the Spring 2021 administration, schools will be required to administer only Session 1 of the ELA and Mathematics Tests to students.
- Session 2 will be made available to schools strictly for their optional administration to students and, if administered, student scores for Session 2 test questions will be used for local student assessment purposes only.
- New York State Education Department (NYSED) is cancelling all but four of the Regents Examinations scheduled to be administered in June 2021.
- NYSED is cancelling the August 2021 administration of Regents Examinations as this administration period is not required to comply with ESSA.
- Currently, NYSED plans to administer the following Regents Examinations in June 2021: Algebra I, Earth Science (written test only), English Language Arts, and Living Environment. NYSED is required to administer these four exams to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
- These examinations shall be administered only in instances where schools and districts can ensure the health and safety of students and teachers.
- Students receiving remote instruction should not be made to come to school for the sole purpose of taking a Regents Examination.
- Even though the four Regents Examinations (Algebra I, Earth Science (written test only), English Language Arts, and Living Environment) will be administered, students still be entitled to an exemption from the diploma requirement related to passing these examinations.
- Students granted an exemption from any examination are not required to pass such specific examinations to meet the assessment requirements for any diploma type (local, Regents, or Regents with advanced designation).
- If a student intended to take the test in June or August to achieve a passing score, the district the district must honor the confirmation of intention from either the student or the parent. The district should discuss the implications of such decision with the student and parent to ensure the exemption is in the best interest of the student. Districts must inform the student and parent that the receipt of a diploma terminates the student’s right to a free public education.
- A student in grade 7 enrolled in a Regents level course who has met the standards assessed in course (passed the course) is eligible for an exemption of the diploma requirement. While this student is not eligible for diploma credit, as they are not yet in grade 8, the student is considered to have fulfilled the graduation assessment requirement in the applicable subject.
- Any student in grade 8 enrolled in a course culminating in a Regents Examination who has met the standards assessed in course (passed the course) shall be granted an exemption from the examination and shall be granted the applicable diploma credit.
- Exempted exams are not represented by a score. No numeric score shall be reported on the student’s transcript.