IMPORTANT TESTING ALERTS: On April 6, 2021, the OPI received a letter from the U.S. Department of Education (Department) declining approval of the strategic waivers for testing, accountability, and reporting submitted on February 5, 2021. The OPI had proposed the option to the Department to allow local assessments (e.g., interims) and other measures of student learning and progress to provide information to parents and educators. The Department indicated the OPI had not demonstrated the specific circumstances that would warrant granting a waiver of the annual statewide assessment requirements and, specifically, not administering statewide assessments at all. On March 26, 2021, the OPI secured the accountability and reporting waivers offered by the Department under ESSA Section 1111(c)(4)(E). These flexibilities grant school districts relief from the “Academic Achievement Indicator” participation rate calculation on the 95 percent requirement within the federal accountability process and school identification. Under ESSA Section 1111(b)(2)(B), school districts should plan on providing students the opportunity to assess when it is safe to do so. However, no student is expected to be brought into in-person learning for the sole purpose of taking state assessments. The safety, health, and well-being of school staff and students is the number one priority this spring. The Montana Strategic Waiver Actions Timeline is a document that lists the activities since December 2020 to present on the OPI’s efforts to secure federal waivers on behalf of Montana school districts.

Important Resources and Dates 


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Congress mandates that all state's participate in assessments under the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to measure student achievement in core subjects.