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Superintendent: ‘A burden has been lifted’ with suspended school testing

Lincoln County Superintendent David Martin believes “a burden has been lifted” by the state board of education after its recent vote.

On Thursday, the Mississippi State Board of Education voted to suspend three statewide policies in order to help manage the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the current school year.

“The policy suspensions are intended to support schools through this intensely challenging year for educators and students,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said.

This will mean all required state and federal assessments will still be administered during the 2020-2021 school year, but MDE will not judge schools based on those assessments.

In particular, the vote affected third graders and high school students. Third graders will not be required to pass the Reading/Language Arts test in order to advance to the fourth grade.

“I think it’s going to be a positive thing for the kids,” Martin said. “We’re kind of disappointed to not see how we’d place, but I think it’s good for the children.”

High school students taking subject area state tests in Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History will not be required to pass in order to graduate.

Martin hopes some of the stress will be taken off of students because of this vote.

“I do, definitely to an extent,” Martin said. “Those tests are very stressful, and those tests are pass or fail. I do believe that was the right call for them to make.”

Students testing, whether in third grade or in high school, are still required to meet all other state and district requirements in order to advance or graduate.

Martin believes the decision will make a positive impact on the students in his district.

“We still want them to work hard and do their best, but they’ll come in with one less burden on their shoulders,” Martin said.