Jefferson County's own District Accountability Committee has unanimously called for the district to do a minimum of in-person testing for this school year as possible. The DAC, a group of volunteer …
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Jefferson County's own District Accountability Committee has unanimously called for the district to do a minimum of in-person testing for this school year as possible.
The DAC, a group of volunteer community members who advise the district. Members are approved by the board of education, and consists of parents (including charter and option parents), PTA, at least one member of the business community and district staff.
At the group's March 16 meeting, the group called on the district "to provide as limited as possible compliance with state and federal mandates on standardized testing (CMAS) for this school year, including the least amount of in-person testing possible."
DAC's resolution goes further and urges the district to notify families about their ability to opt their children out of testing, including clear information on the district and school websites.
Instead of the usual CMAS testing, DAC suggests the district use interim student assessments to measure student learning. Specifically, DAC called for the district to look to ongoing Acadiance (reading evaluation system) and MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) mid-year student data for information and guidance.
"We greatly appreciate the work of this all-volunteer group who work tirelessly on behalf of Jeffco students," Board of Education President Susan Harmon said in a statement response. "We understand the concerns of many in our community about conducting testing after this unconventional school year. We also know we will be required to complete any assessments as set forth by state and federal legislation."
The Jeffco Schools Board of Education has previously discussed testing at its Feb. 23 meeting, before the passage of state bill HB21-1161, titled Suspend Statewide Assessments For Select Grades, which was signed into law on March 16, triggering the statement by DAC.
"There are families who are not aware of the choice to opt out and many more who are unclear or intimidated about the opt out procedures. With this, we are pleased to see HB21-1161 includes no test attendance penalties for school districts and individual schools for this year," Carsten Engebretsen, chair of the Jeffco DAC, said as part of the group's statement.
That house bill, co-sponsored by State Senator Rachel Zenzinger D-Arvada, suspends state testing requirements, contingent upon acceptance by the U.S. Department of Education. It would specifically suspend testing in science for grades 5, 8 and 11; math for grades 3, 5, and 7; and English language arts for grades 4, 6, and 8.
The state bill also prohibits school districts from using student testing measures when evaluating teacher performance for the 2020-2021 school year.
Chalkbeat Colorado reports that the U.S. Department of Education has not provided a time line for responding to the state's request.
The Biden Administration has indicated that it wants state standardized testing to resume this year however.
For some students, it is already a moot debate. According to the school district's executive director of instructional data services, CMAS testing began in Jeffco schools as of March 22.
"We will make adjustments if the federal waiver is approved, but for now the Colorado Department of Education has advised districts and schools to prepare to test as normal," district spokesperson Cameron Bell said.
CMAS testing must be administered in person. There is no remote testing option.
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