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State K-12 Leaders Promise To Cancel Standardized Exams This Year

A sign outside of Kettering Elementary School in Long Beach announces that school will be closed until April 20th. (Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/LAist)
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California public school students will not have to take their annual standardized tests this year, state schools officials promised on this morning.

Nearly all of California’s K-12 public schools have closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak — and many schools may not reopen before the summer.

Federal law requires all students from third through eighth grade, as well as some high school students, to take benchmark standardized tests every year. But this year, state schools Supt. Tony Thurmond said that’s unrealistic.

“It is not even feasible to expect that we could assemble students in a way where they could take the test. Even if we could, one would have to wonder what educational value those tests would produce.”

Thurmond was echoing a pledge that Gov. Gavin Newsom first made during a press conference of his own Tuesday evening.
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To follow through on that promise, state officials will have to jump through some hoops first. They’ll need to ask the U.S. Department of Education for a waiver from the annual testing requirement.

During a webinar for school officials statewide Wednesday, Thurmond also hinted that Newsom might soon issue an executive order canceling the exams.

In many schools, the coronavirus closures fell right in the middle of what would’ve been testing season. In Los Angeles Unified — the state’s largest district — schools could have started giving students these tests last week.