Arkansas, students who are adequately prepared currently have options to
accelerate in math and/or science coursework as appropriate. In Spring 2024,
Arkansas will transition from end-of-grade to an end-of-course assessment when
the Arkansas Teaching and Learning Assessment System (ATLAS) launches. To meet
assessment participation requirements as set forth by the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as reauthorized by the Every Student
Succeeds Act (ESSA) students who accelerate would have to double test in the
lower grades. To avoid this burden on students and schools, Arkansas is
requesting a waiver from the statutory requirement detailed in ESEA Section
1111(b)(2)(C). Specifically, DESE seeks to extend the exception made in
1111(b)(2)(C) in order to accelerate advanced mathematics and science in middle
school for students in grade 8 to also include students in grade 7 for 4 years
from SY 2023-24 to SY 2026-27.
If granted the requested waiver, the Division of
Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) assures that schools will fulfill
participation requirements by ensuring that:
- If a student is taking a course earlier than what is considered “grade level” for Arkansas, then the student would take the end-of-course test appropriate for the course the student is enrolled in for Federal accountability purposes. This flexibility avoids double testing in the lower grade for math or science. (e.g. If a seventh grade student is taking Algebra I they will take the Algebra I EOC rather than the 7th grade math test).
- When the student reaches the “grade level” for the course in high school, the student may be required to take a more advanced high school mathematics or science assessment for use in accountability. (ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(C)).
- DESE will ensure that all Arkansas students will test at least once for grades 9-12 in mathematics and at least once in grades 10-12 for science.
Prior to submitting this waiver request, the DESE is
providing notice to the public and local educational agencies and a reasonable
opportunity to comment on this request.
Interested persons may comment on the application of this waiver here:
Comments will be accepted through Nov 15.