Most CMAS testing would be on chopping block this year under bill introduced in Colorado legislature

In response to the Biden administration’s request that states still hold standardized testing this year, four Colorado legislators introduced a new bill Thursday that would significantly lessen the testing load for grades 3-8.

HB 21-1161 would cancel the following Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS, tests:

  • Science tests for grades fifth, eighth and 11th;
  • Math exams for grades third, fifth and seventh;
  • English language arts for grades fourth, sixth and eighth;
  • Social studies exams for all elementary and middle school students.

That means only tests would be given to fourth, sixth and eighth grades for math and third, fifth and seventh grades for language arts.

The bill, which the House Education Committee will take up Friday, would also prohibit districts from using the results as an accountability measure for teachers and principals.

If it passes, Colorado would still need a waiver from federal education officials to be able to forgo the tests, because the feds are keen on assessing learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally, some lawmakers hoped to cancel all standardized testing this year, arguing schools face stiff logistical challenges in hosting CMAS exams. Lawmakers also believed the tests would cut into precious instructional time, and results would come too late to address students’ needs.

Last month, the Biden administration told states it would not issue blanket waivers to discontinue standardized testing, though it would offer flexibility in how exams are administered.

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