NYSUT talks state assessment and accountability federal waivers request


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Throughout the pandemic, students, teachers, and parents have had to adapt to a “new normal” for learning, whether it be online, in-class, or hybrid instruction. And, with districts across the state using different methods, some say it’s been anything but standard.

The New York State Education Department (NYSUT) has drafted federal waiver requests for student testing requirements and accountability this spring. 

“One is to wave the actual assessments themselves. And then the second is on accountability and having any kind of punishment or any kind of identification of a school in need, based off this year’s data,” said Jolene DiBrango, NYSUT Executive Vice President.

If the state received the requested waivers from the United States Department of Education there would be no impact on federal funding. 

NYSUT says the move would benefit students given the varying schooling experiences they’ve had this year. “It wouldn’t be fair or equitable to use one standardized test to see how much these students know and are able to do,” DiBrango says. 

The waivers would impact high school and third through eighth grade testing requirements. While some may argue that state assessments are necessary to make sure students are ready for the next grade, DiBrango doesn’t believe they would provide reliable data this year.

“We know that our teachers can work in concert with the teachers that are a grade above them and a grade below them to really create assessments that will allow them to have accurate, valid data to see where the students are, and where they need to go the following year,” DiBrango said. 

NYSED is accepting public comments on the drafted waiver requests through Friday.

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