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Schools nationwide will be required to conduct standardized testing

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PEORIA (HOI) - Standardized testing for grades K-12 will continue as usual. The US Department of Education sent a letter to each state on Monday outlining the expectations.

Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat is superintendent at Peoria Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in Central Illinois. She is one of 674 Superintendents to ask the State for a waiver this year. Although, she doesn't expect that waiver to be granted.

"It's very very unfortunate and it made me sad. It's just very out of touch it is unable to pivot and reimagine during a global pandemic," she explained Wednesday.

Part of the requirements is that 95% of students take the test. Kherat doesn't think that will be possible with 1500 students in District 150 opting for remote learning all year.

"There is no reason for the standardized testing at this time. It's a remedy for disaster. It's just really kind of shocking honestly," she added.

"The bottom line is its just going to take away instructional time," she explained further. Kherat estimates it takes at least one full week of instruction time to administer the tests at each grade level.

And according to Kherat, they use the data for comparing schools, and with accountability for schools waived, she thinks the tests are meaningless this year.

"This data will be skewed. You cannot use it for any trend data to compare it to next year or the previous year," she added.

Heart of Illinois ABC has reached out to the Illinois State Board of Education who declined an interview. A representative did say in a statement they are currently reviewing the letter from the Federal Government to decide any action.

The ISBE has advocated for waivers for Illinois schools this month, sending a letter to Washington on February 11. Testing has already been pushed back once. The earliest schools can begin testing is March 15.

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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