In a partial victory for California, the U.S. Department of Education has granted the state a retroactive waiver from administering outdated science tests, instead allowing it to give students pilot tests based on new science standards.

But the department granted the waiver only for the just completed school year. It made it clear that the waiver doesn’t apply to the current school year, and that if California did the same thing it did last year it could run afoul of the law and risk penalties that could include losing federal funds.

For over a year, the state has been locked in a conflict with the U.S. Department of Education over the way California is developing and implementing assessments to measure progress on the Next Generation Science Standards. These are standards the state adopted in 2013, replacing the old standards in place since 1998.

 

California is not planning to administer the old California Science Test this spring. Instead, it will administer a longer field test of the new version, with full implementation planned for the 2018-19 school year.

The California Science Teachers Association said it fully supports California’s approach to phasing in the new tests, and leaving the old tests behind. “We continue to support the science assessment implementation plan that was thoughtfully outlined by the California Department of Education last year,” said Jill Grace, the association’s president.

“Taking the time to allow students and teachers to experience both a pilot and field test without the pressure of accountability is essential and supportive of the measured approach to implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards that we support,” Grace said.

Click here to read the full story in Ed Source (September 13, 2017)

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