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Indiana wants to cancel state testing following coronavirus school closures

We needed to help students see that the path to college was still a reality. We needed hope. At MESA, that hope came in the unlikely form of the CLEP exams,” Principal Pagee Cheung writes.
Testing in Progress sign on door at Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School, an elementary school in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Alan Petersime/Chalkbeat

Indiana is asking permission to cancel state standardized tests for schools in the wake of the coronavirus.

The Indiana Department of Education issued a notice to schools Friday saying it had requested forgiveness from the federal government for required state tests. In the meantime, standardized testing for grades 3, IREAD, and 10, ISTEP, are postponed.

State leaders are waiting to get permission from Gov. Eric Holcomb and the U.S. Department of Education before formally canceling or postponing the ILEARN exam.

The test for grades 3-8 is currently scheduled between April 20 and May 15 — soon after many students are expected to return from several weeks off of school as a result of the coronavirus closures.

“With the pressure our schools are already facing navigating the COVID-19 outbreak, the last thing our schools need is the undue burden of preparing and administering statewide assessments,” said department spokesperson Adam Baker.

The state exams were already expected to be relatively low stakes because lawmakers approved a “hold-harmless” measure last month that protects schools and teachers from negative consequences from low test scores on the new assessment for two years.

This move comes after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state reached 12 on Friday and a rush of districts announced closures, including all 11 in Indianapolis.

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