New law seeks to scale back Colorado standardized testing for students this school year

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DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law that will scale back statewide standardized testing for students this school year, pending approval from the U.S. Department of Education.

If a federal waiver from the U.S. Department of Education is granted, students will receive select standardized tests, instead of the full testing suite. The law is a compromise between educators, the Colorado Education Association and school districts.

Educators and the state teachers union have been pushing for all testing to be canceled, arguing it’s more important for students to get caught up on materials than tested. Proponents of CMAS testing argue it’s more important than ever to assess students’ knowledge after months of remote learning and disruptions.

The law seeks to suspend the following standardized tests this school year:

  • Science for students enrolled in grades 5, 8, and 11
  • Math for students enrolled in grades 3, 5, and 7
  • English language arts for students enrolled in grades 4, 6, and 8
  • Social studies assessment for students enrolled in elementary and middle school

In addition to suspending some testing, the law also prohibits licensed professionals from being critiqued on their performance this school year based on student academic growth measures or student performance measures.

Parents can file a special request with their student’s school district if they want their student to receive the English language arts assessment or the math assessment if its suspended for their child’s grade level during the 2020-2021 school year.

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