- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska education officials are looking to escape federal penalties for failing to meet standardized testing requirements after cancelling statewide student assessments in April due to technical disruptions.

Officials are working on a waiver request to send to the U.S. Department of Education to avoid possible penalties, The Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/1UGdAS0 ).

The state Department of Education and Early Development maintains that students missed out on testing this past school year because of technical failures by the Kansas-based Achievement and Assessment Institute, which provides standardized testing to school districts throughout Alaska.

All states must annually test third through eighth graders, and at least once in high school, on language arts and mathematics assessments, according to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Fourth, eighth and 10th graders must also complete a science achievement measurement.

Alaska students had started taking the computer-based Alaska Measures of Progress test in April when a fiber optic cable was severed at the University of Kansas, where the test is managed. Educators tried subsequent attempts at administering the test, but officials ultimately canceled the assessment, citing concerns with the validity of the results.

Susan McCauley, the education department’s interim commissioner, said she was not confident students could complete the test without more interruptions.

This was the second and final year students faced the AMP test, which state education department officials decided this year wasn’t the best measurement of success.

The state is accepting public comment on the waiver, which is expected to be sent sometime after July 7. The Alaska education department is also working during the waiver process to review proposals for a new standardized test students can expect to take next year.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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