The Kentucky Department of Education notified all Kentucky public school superintendents March 24 that K-PREP testing for the 2019-2020 school year has been canceled.

U.S. Department of Education announced March 20 that students impacted by school closures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can bypass standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year. KDE applied for a waiver and was notified over the weekend that its testing waiver was tentatively approved by the USED.

The testing window during which the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress is given annually is within the last 14 instructional days on a school district’s calendar.

While all 172 of Kentucky’s school districts are now using the Non-Traditional Instruction Program to ensure students continue learning while school buildings are closed, in-person classes have been called off through at least April 20. Gov. Andy Beshear has warned superintendents that there may be a need to keep buildings closed later than that date to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Since student performance, as measured by assessments, is required to be used in statewide accountability systems, any state that receives a one-year waiver from testing also may receive a waiver from the requirement that the data be used in the statewide accountability system due to the national emergency. KDE included the exemption from school and district accountability and specific public reporting requirements in its waiver.

The majority of Kentucky’s public school students took the ACT test March 10. KDE is working with representatives from ACT to provide additional options for students that were unable to complete testing. Additional information will be provided when details are finalized.

Accountability data is typically released in the fall in Kentucky.

For this year, Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown said all federal ratings and supports will remain the same until after the next testing cycle in the spring of 2021. The list of schools qualifying for Comprehensive Support and Improvement and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) also will stay the same.

“I hope this will help ease some of the anxiety being felt among our families and our teachers,” Brown said. “I want our teachers and schools to concentrate on providing a great education to their students through the NTI Program rather than worry about standardized testing. Let’s end this year strong despite the extra stress COVID-19 has placed on all of us.”

Brown said the USED intends to issue a formal approval of the KDE waiver request in the coming weeks.

For more information about COVID-19, visit, kycovid19.ky.gov.

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