Illinois school superintendents want to suspend standardized testing

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Remote learning is severely impacting the way school districts judge the progress of students.

Superintendents statewide are calling for a suspension of federal standardized testing requirements. They say normal testing is nearly impossible to do and it's costing both students and teachers.

A handful of students are learning in-person in the 6th grade class at Hillcrest Elementary School. Their desks are spaced more than 6 feet apart. And their teacher divides her attention with the camera on her laptop addressing the rest of the class as they follow along virtually. It's the reality of hybrid learning - and the main reason why they want to skip the government mandated testing this year.

Tony Sanders, superintendent of the state's second largest district, U-46, started a petition asking the U.S. Department of Education for a waiver on mandated testing this year. Within a week, nearly 700 other superintendents around the state signed on. They represent about 65 percent of the state's students.

The tests include Illinois Assessment of Readiness Tests for 3rd through 8th graders in English and math starting next month. But the U-46 superintendent says nearly half of the district's students are in full-time remote learning. And getting a large number of them to come in for testing would be difficult, if not impossible. And to have enough space they would have to be staggered, which would take up valuable teaching time. Other districts face the same challenge and are hoping to get a response from the education department very soon.
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