KDE releases guidance on administering spring 2021 state testing


COVID-19 Participation in Spring 2021 Kentucky State TestingThe Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released two new COVID-19 guidance documents Feb. 15 to assist districts in preparing to administer spring state testing.

The “COVID-19 Participation in Spring 2021 Kentucky State Testing” document noted that because the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has not currently granted waivers on statewide testing for public school students, KDE’s Office of Assessment and Accountability (OAA) is preparing for the in-person administration of state assessments.

Currently, there are many unknowns about state testing and the situation is fluid. This guidance could change as the pandemic unfolds. The KDE awaits further guidance, directions or waivers offered by USED on spring 2021 assessments. As this dynamic situation evolves, the KDE will change and adapt as needed and will seek state or federal flexibilities or waivers.

Each year, state testing is vital to providing information about school and student performance to determine areas in which support is needed and identify gaps in student learning and among different student groups. The guidance document describes how that information can be used during the COVID-19 crisis to gain a better understanding of the pandemic’s impact on student learning, which is expected to be significant.

The spring 2021 testing plan includes flexible test windows, a reduction in the amount of time for assessment administration, where possible, and an option to bring in small groups of full-time virtual students for in-person assessment. All in-person test administrations should follow the “Guidance on Safety Expectations and Best Practices for Kentucky Schools (K-12)” and the recommendation of local health department.

KDE also released “Kentucky Summative Assessment Administration Guidance 2020-2021 School Year,” which provides specific guidelines for test administration, test accommodations, safety expectations and staff training for state test administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More COVID-19 district guidance and resources can be found on KDE’s Covid-19 webpage.



  1. Are parents able to opt-out of KPrep testing for their children? Are there any ramifications for districts if parents opt-out?

    • Currently, there is no “opt out” provision for students in Kentucky law. Testing all students allows us to identify trends for student groups that may otherwise go unseen. Based on the data from state assessments, we can identify the disparity in performance between groups and work toward closing achievement gaps.

      Having performance results from state assessments provides students, parents and educators data on the impact of the pandemic. Without data, it is an assumption of the degree of impact the pandemic has had on student performance. It is important to measure the extent of the learning loss. With information from state assessments, individual learning strategies, plans for extended school services and other supports can be developed and implemented.