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News Release - State Board of Education supports legislation to reduce state assessments

March 10, 2021

State Board of Education supports legislation to reduce state assessments

DENVER -- The State Board of Education today voted to support House Bill 21-1161 which would reduce the number of Colorado Measures of Academic Success assessments taken by students this spring if the U.S. Department of Education approves a waiver of the federal assessment requirements.

CMAS is the only common measuring tool of student academic progress across the state. Results show families, educators, education leaders and policymakers if students are meeting the grade-level expectations in the Colorado Academic Standards. 

“Some of our administrators and educators have voiced fair concerns about the time involved in  administering CMAS this spring, so my hope is that this reduced schedule will alleviate their concerns,” said Board Chairwoman Angelika Schroeder. “I’m pleased with the compromise bill because data from this year’s assessments is especially critical. Results will provide enough data to reveal the pandemic’s impact on learning and help Colorado’s leaders make informed decisions about where and how to best deploy the state’s resources.” 

The bill would require students in third through eighth grade to take only one test in either English language arts or math. Normally, students in third through eighth grade take assessments each year in both English language arts and math. Tests in social studies and science are normally taken once in elementary school, once in middle school and once again in high school.

The bill would require students in third, fifth and seventh grades to take the English language arts tests. Students in fourth, sixth and eighth grade would take the math tests. Parents and caregivers can opt for their children to take both tests if they would like to see how their children are progressing in both subject areas. The bill would eliminate science and social studies tests for all students this spring. 

The suite of college access assessments taken by high school students would not change under the bill. Ninth and 10th graders will continue to take the PSAT, and 11th graders will take the SAT.

The bill would eliminate the use of 2021 CMAS results in school and district accountability and in educator evaluations. 

It also directs CDE to request a waiver from federal law to allow for the reduction in math, English language arts and science assessments. The department plans to submit the waiver to the U.S. Department of Education as soon as possible after the bill becomes law.