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MS Dept. of Education recommends waiving passing requirements for 3rd grade, high school students


The state Board of Education already voted last week to halt state standardized tests and to have schools and districts keep their current A-to-F ratings for another year. Mississippi officials said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Education has indicated it will formally approve Mississippi’s waiver later, as board members suspended more than a dozen laws and rules.

That means high school students will be allowed to graduate without passing end-of-course tests in algebra, biology, English II and U.S history or achieving alternate test scores, as long as they pass the underlying course. That’s true even if students aren’t seniors but are taking the courses this year.

Thursday, the board also agreed that third graders won’t have to pass a standardized test of reading skills and can advance to fourth grade if they meet other normal requirements. Kindergarten students also won’t be administered a dyslexia screener this spring.

Statewide assessments will still take place as scheduled this year, “to measure statewide student progress, assess the impact of COVID-19 … on learning and meet U.S. Department of Education requirements.”

With the challenges students and teachers are facing this school year because of the pandemic, some teachers believe it’s important to work together in order to help students learn inside and outside of the classroom.

“Even with the barriers in place right now with some schools not allowing visitors in the building and things like that, we still keep that line of communication open,” said Martin Bluff Elementary teacher Emilee Williams in Gautier. “We make sure parents know what their student’s need and what we are providing for them at school in hopes that we can get them prepared as possible for the next grade level.”

Wright said MDE will continue to help districts plan afterschool, enrichment and summer learning opportunities. Literacy-Based Promotion Act funds could fund summer reading camps, afterschool programs and reading enrichment programs. These funds are available because of reduced face-to-face training and travel costs due to COVID-19. Districts are expected to use federal funds to support literacy and learning efforts as well.

This content was originally published here.

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