The Maryland State Board of Education voted today to administer statewide tests this spring in mathematics and English language arts to students in grades 3 through 8 and in high school for 10th-grade ELA, algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry.
The high school tests in American government and science, however, as well as the fifth- and eighth-grade tests in science and the new eighth-grade social studies tests have been cancelled for this spring.
The board amended the motion to approve state testing to ask the state department of education to make a “concerted effort” to shorten even the reduced number of tests. The department is expected to work with the state’s technical advisory committee in an effort to reduce testing time.
The state will also administer the WIDA Consortium test known as Access for English learners and the Dynamic Learning Maps tests in math and ELA for students in special education programs, but the Dynamic Learning Maps test in science has been cancelled.
In order to assess all or most students, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon told the board that senior leadership in the department was exploring the option to allow students who choose to stay virtual to take the tests without coming into the school building. Findings may be available for the board at a future meeting.
Dr Salmon also said certain waivers were being considered around these tests and that she would present information about any waivers at the board’s regular March meeting.
In response to a question, she said Maryland currently has no option for students to opt out of testing.
Prior to the vote, several local educators expressed hope that the board would consider reducing or even eliminating the tests this spring. People addressing the board in the public comment section of the meeting included Montgomery County Superintendent Jack Smith and Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost.