Coronavirus: MCA tests canceled for the rest of the school year

The state has received federal approval to cancel tests.

Students in Minnesota schools will not have to take any MCA and MTAS tests for the rest of the school year.

Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education Heather Mueller said it has received approval from the federal government to scrap this year's Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments amid the ongoing COVID-19 school shutdown.

The state had announced earlier in March it would look for a waiver being offered by the federal government to eliminate achievement accountability tests for the 2019/20 school year.

The MCAs and the alternative assessment Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) are used each year to measure the academic progress of Minnesota's student population.

MCA or MTAS exams are given in reading between grades 3-8, as well as 10, math from grades 3-8, as well as 11, and science ins grades, 5, 8 and once in high school.

It comes as Minnesota students are set for a period of at least a month of distance learning, after schools were shut down in mid-March in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

That closure was extended last week by Gov. Tim Walz until at least May 4.

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Education secretary Betsy DeVos announced earlier this month that the federal Department of Education would provide waivers so that states no longer had to meet the requirements set out in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

"Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time," she said. 

"Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment. Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions."

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