AZ Board Of Education Resolution Supports Standardized Tests This Spring, No Letter Grades For Schools

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Monday, December 14, 2020 - 4:06pm
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During its Monday meeting, the Arizona State Board of Education passed a resolution in support of adjusting the state's School Accountability System due to challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

The system looks at students’ year-to-year academic growth and proficiency in various subjects that are measured through statewide testing. It then assigns schools A through F letter grades. 

Last school year, the state canceled standardized testing for students due to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not issues new grades for schools. But during its Monday meeting, the Arizona State Board of Education passed a resolution in support of resuming testing for all students this spring to collect critical assessment data, and appropriately report achievement data, but recommends no letter grades be issued for the 2020-2021 school year.

"This will be a baseline for future years because comparing this year to past years is not fair to our students and teachers and that would be punitive," said state Superintendent Kathy Hoffman. 

In addition, the data will help the board determine where additional resources are needed, Hoffman said. 

Board member Christine Burton does not think they should hide from the realities of how COVID-19 has impacted student learning.

“I think we know it’s not going to be perfect, but I think we need data to inform, as Superintendent Hoffman said, resource allocation decisions," Burton said. "I mean if we’re not measuring, we don’t know.”

But Hoffman and the board also recognize that administering tests in-person and collecting this data may be difficult due to the pandemic.

State and federal lawmakers have the final say on school letter grades and standardized tests. 

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