The U.S. Department of Education has approved the assessment and accountability suspension waiver that state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and the state Department of Education submitted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For spring 2020, South Carolina will not administer the following student assessment programs:

SC READY (English language arts and mathematics in grades 3–8)

SCPASS (science in grades 4 and 6)

End-of-Course Examination Program (English, Algebra, Biology, United States History and the Constitution)

Prekindergarten assessments

Alternate assessments

“The suspension of South Carolina’s student assessments will allow educators to focus on meeting the needs of students and relieve undue anxiety faced by parents and students,” Spearman said in a press release. “Our efforts must be concentrated on addressing this unprecedented public health pandemic. I appreciate Secretary DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education recognizing this and swiftly approving our waiver request.”

On March 17, Spearman sent a letter to Mick Zais, U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary of Education, “indicating South Carolina’s intent to suspend federally required assessments and giving notice of submitting additional accountability measure waivers.”

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Education released a form for all states to request such waivers.

The state Department of Education completed and submitted the waiver form on the same day and the U.S. Department of Education reviewed and gave South Carolina approval to suspend assessments and waived certain accountability measures.

South Carolina education leaders have worked with vendors of college entrance, college credit, and workforce readiness assessments to employ online testing. Districts may administer these online assessments to students who need them for post-secondary or future employment opportunities.

The assessments include Advanced Placement, SAT, ACT and WIN Ready to Work. If the assessments are administered, they will be paid for by the state.