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Standardized testing to resume in-person this spring in Louisiana



LOUISIANA – The pandemic is bringing challenges when it comes to standardized testing in Louisiana.

How do you test students when many of them are learning at home?

Last year Governor John Bel Edwards waived standardized testing and other rules amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. That has not happened this year and now districts across the state are trying to figure out how to do the testing safely.

Students – whether they learn in-person or online – must take statewide standardized tests this spring and they must take them in-person.

“There are security measures in place that have to be there when we test students. And we just cannot be in control of those security measures when you are trying to test students at home,” Pate said. “So, they cannot test at home.”

Curtis pate, Director of Testing and Accountability for Ouachita Parish Schools, says right now the Ouachita Parish school district has 3,627 students still enrolled in their Virtual Instruction Program. That number is down from over 6,000 that were signed up at the beginning of the school year.

But there will be a change with this year’s test. The results will not carry consequences for students or schools.

“This test will not determine a child’s placement for next year, we will look at preponderance of evidence as to how they have done on other assessments throughout the year, it will not come down to one test that has been taken this year,” Pate said.

He says the district is still trying to figure out how to make this happen safely for their virtual students.

That is why they are asking VIP parents to submit a survey so they can iron out the details.

“What we’re trying to figure out is how we’re going to get them there. Can the parents bring them there themselves? We are going to provide transportation. We’re also looking at different schedules for the VIP students that are coming in to keep them separate from the brick-and-mortar students that have been there.”

Pate says as of right now, there is a lack of parent responses.

Out of the 1,189 elementary school V.I.P. students, only 193 surveys have been completed. Out of the 851-middle school V.I.P. students, 220 surveys have been completed. Out of the 1,587-high school V.I.P. students, only 420 responses have been recorded.