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Educators Ask Sununu for Help Postponing Statewide Tests

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Groups representing public school administrators and teachers are calling for the state to postpone student assessments this spring, in light of emergency school closures.

U.S. Department of Education told states they could apply for a waiver to defer tests required by federal law until the end of the national emergency. The DOE is streamlining the application process for states applying for the waiver; nearly all have applied, with the exception of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut says his department has not given up on the possibility of a remote standardized test, so the agency is still exploring its options.

"A large part of the value of student performance data is the multi-year trend information we gain by having annual assessments," Edelblut explained. "We want to explore every possibility to preserve this important data before making any decision on this year's assessments."

But many educators say the test will not be valid or reliable during remote learning.

In a letter on Wednesday, Carl Ladd, director of the New Hampshire School Administrators' Association, and a group of education leaders, urged Governor Sununu to order the state DOE to apply for the waiver.

The letter outlines educators’ concerns about continuing the 3-8th grade and 11th grade statewide assessments, including the difficulty disadvantaged and special needs students will face in completing a remote assessment.

“To not sign the waiver and reduce stress for parents and students and teachers is unnecessary,” Ladd told NHPR.

Ladd warns schools will not be able to fulfill protocols set by the state to administer tests, including providing support to students with disabilities and those learning English as a second language.

Edelblut told NHPR his agency is regularly in touch with districts about their concerns, and that he will reach a determination about the waiver soon.

Read the letter below: