No statewide tests for MN students this year

Minnesota K-12 students will not be required to take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) in 2020 due to school closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have been closed since March 16, although distance learning began on March 30.

The test waiver was received from the federal government this past week after the Minnesota Department of Education requested the waiver. The testing window runs from March 8-May 8, but Governor Walz issued a school closure order until May 4.

March 30 began the first week of distance learning for Minnesota schools and school children. There were a few glitches on day one as a website used to help deliver information to students experienced problems. MDE has been working with school administrators and superintendents to find trouble spots and solutions to mitigate them.

From March 18-March 27, school districts and charters served over 1.2 million meals, and an average of 3,270 students per day are receiving school-age care.

The Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) held an emergency online meeting last week to address student teaching experience requirements (currently 12 weeks) which were interrupted by the pandemic. At the meeting PELSB approved several variance changes recommended by the Teacher Preparation Committee, including:

  • 10 weeks or more of face-to-face student teaching will suffix for the 2019-2020 school year
  • 6-9 weeks of face-to-face student teaching supplemented by online or distance learning student teaching for a total of 10 weeks of student teaching (weeks do not have to be continuous)
  • 6-9 weeks of face-to-face student teaching supplemented by replacement experiences or verification of preparedness (weeks do not have to be continuous)

All variances are limited to candidates completing student teaching in the spring of 2020, and teacher preparation providers must document for each candidate the number of weeks of face-to-face student teaching completed; the number of weeks of student teaching completed through an online or distance learning format (if applicable); replacement experiences (if applicable); and other verification of preparedness (if applicable). Providers must have evidence demonstrating that candidates are prepared to teach prior to recommending them for licensure.

PELSB is meeting again on April 3 to discuss what to do with students who completed fewer than six weeks of teaching and also how to approach completion of the EdTPA, a national teacher preparation test that consists of three tasks.