For students, faculty and administrators the annual Math and Reading proficiency tests that are distributed to schools all across the state can be a nerve racking time. But on Thursday April 8 the Minnesota Department of Education requested a one time waiver that if approved would mean the state will not use this year’s test results when it identifies the next list of low-performing schools in 2022. Plus the schools getting extra support from the state this year will continue to next year as well.

Last year these tests which are distributed throughout the United States were cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Even though the tests will still be conducted the Biden administration has waived the results that would show the poor performing schools through out the nation.

The Minnesota Teachers Union has shown support for the waiver but does not agree that schools be tested again this year. President Denise Specht wrote in a letter to the department saying:

We do not understand why we are sacrificing valuable instructional time to collect data that is so flawed that it will never be used. The union predicted a record number of students will opt out of the tests, which must be taken at school, even by students who have been in distance learning for the past year.

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For schools these test results can greatly effect what kinds of Federal money is given to that particular school, but also measures on how well their student body is doing academically. I understand the need for these tests and of course was a student myself many years ago going through them, but in my opinion their needs to be some wiggle room. I am not a teacher of course, but I do know a few and it is an awful lot of pressure to put on these students and the faculty when some students are just not good test takers and then throw the pandemic on top of this.

But on the other hand I do realize there has to be some sort of way to measure how well these schools are performing and what areas they need help in. With so many students being forced to learn from home and many falling behind in their school work thankfully these results this year won't count. But maybe these results will offer some insight to teachers to see what students are really struggling and get them help.

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