Students required to take end of semester tests in-person, CMS wants to change that state, federal law

CMS families want to change in

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Even if your child is in full remote options, currently, state/federal testing laws state they would still be required to come back into the classroom for their testing days at the end of this semester.

Both parents and teachers say that is a major risk for their children and families.

As the federal/state requirement stands currently, there is no student opt-out option from the state-required testing; End of Course tests commonly called ‘EOCS’.

If students do not take their final exam, they will receive a zero for their final.

Many students have family members who are at high risk, which is why they avoided the in-person setting in the first place.

But families say forcing students back into the classroom, for nearly two days of testing requirement isn’t worth the risk, and they want this state requirment changed.

Leadership at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools agrees.

“They should waive it right now, based on what we know today, as they did in March and April of this year for last year’s exams,” said CMS Intergovernmental Relations Chair, Charles Jeter.

But it’s not up to CMS.

For some tests, it’s a federal and state law for that testing to be done in-person.

“Part of that test has two component requirements. One is that 95% of our students are compliant with the test. And to that the cast count 20% of their grade,” said Jeter.

CMS is trying to get that federal/state testing law changed.

“It’s easy to get changed. Secretary DeVos can send an email today, right now. And it’s changed, “ said Jeter. “The unwillingness to change it at the federal level is baffling and unnecessary, and illogical.”

Full transparency, Jeter says CMS leaders are not confident the United States Department of Education is going to waive these state/federal mandated in-person testing requirements.

But after digging into this law a little deeper, Education Reporter, Chandler Morgan, found out there are some loopholes.

About 95 percent of the students have to comply and take these tests, so what happens if the majority of students just don’t show up to take the tests?

“It’s a great question,” said Jeter. “I will say there is a clear loophole. And then there is what I’ll call the nuclear loophole, which is what happens if there’s just a mass, you know, an organized boycott of it.”

Jeter asked hypothetically, what would happen if 50% of the student body in North Carolina decided, ‘it’s not safe. I want a waiver, I’m going to request a waiver from because of medical reasons from DPI?’

“Frankly, I don’t know how that [would get] managed,” says Jeter.

On a local level, CMS has done what it can, says Jeter.

Wednesday, CMS announced district Superintendent Earnest Winston changed its policy for an in-person semester and yearly tests at the district level.

That means any CMS classes that have CMS sanctioned final tests, would not be required in-person to take, accounting for 20 percent of the student’s final grade.

Those changes are listed here:

1. Final course grades in yearlong courses shall be calculated as follows:

a. Beginning with the 2015/16 school year, in a yearlong course, the final grade shall be based on the formula: Semester 1 (40%) + Semester 2 (40%) + Final examination (20%) = final grade. The examination grade is the numeric score on the EOC, end of course assessment, and state-required in-person assessments for select CTE courses during the 2020-2021 school year. For all other courses, final course grades in yearlong courses shall be based on the formula Semester 1 (50%) + Semester 2 (50%) = final grade for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

3. Final course grades in semester courses shall be calculated as follows:

a. Beginning with the 2015/16 school year, in a semester course, the final grade shall be based on the formula: Quarter 1 (40%) + Quarter 2 (40%) + Examination (20%) = final grade. The examination grade is the numeric score on the EOC, end of course assessment, and state-required in-person assessments for select CTE courses during the 2020-2021 school year. For all other courses, final course grades in semester courses shall be based on the formula Quarter 1 (50%) + Quarter 2 (50%) = final grade for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

Jeter says CMS is not encouraging students to suddenly request those medical waivers or boycott these tests, by any means.

But Jeter says the point is, this testing requirement has to be addressed by state and federal leadership, or else it could lead to even bigger problems.

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