Virginia has been denied its request to exempt 1st graders and kindergartners who are learning to speak English from reading and writing tests in English under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
The U.S. Department of Education notified state education officials of the decision in a letter dated April 11. Federal officials clarified, however, that the state can test those young English-language learners using work samples or teacher observations, rather than by standardized tests only.
Late last week, Virginia was still awaiting word on other waiver requests. One request would give high schools greater flexibility in meeting federal mandates for adequate yearly progress on test scores. Two others would allow students who retake some tests to be counted toward test-score goals for their schools, and limit transfers of high-performing students out of low-rated schools.