State School Superintendent Richard Woods is moving forward with plans to pursue testing flexibility. On Monday, he sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos expressing Georgia’s intent to apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority. This would allow state education agencies to pilot innovative assessments for accountability and reporting, with the intent of scaling these innovative assessments statewide.

This step, Woods said, is in line with recommendations from Georgia’s Assessment Working Committee, but is also part of a strong recommendation by Governor Nathan Deal in a letter to Woods concerning the state’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In his letter to the Superintendent —  after reviewing the state plan — Deal wrote, “The first major area of the plan that should be revised and strengthened is that of state assessments. ESSA presents an opportunity that certainly should not be missed for the state to apply for the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Pilot or to develop and implement statewide cumulative interim assessments in all tested grades and subjects.”

Deal went on to state that “there is no clear indication in the appendix that GADOE intends to proactively request or apply for participation in the allowable Innovative Assessment Demonstration Pilot…despite the interest expressed by several school districts.” 

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