By Deseray McKinzy

Arkansas is requiring school districts state wide to give the ACT Aspire tests to students grades 3rd-10th on a schedule between the dates April 5th until May 21st. The aspire test focuses on math, literacy, and science and are required to be taken on-site including students who have participated in class remotely.

The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education compiled and made an assessment tool kit available to help school systems to encourage parents who have not participated in on-site learning. One provision in the tool kit emphasizes that the end of the year aspire test help the state and government hold districts accountable for student learning.

Due to how abruptly students and districts had to shut down during last years spring the Aspire test were not given. This years test creates an opportunity for the state and districts, “to take a snapshot of learning to identify and track progress and inform interventions.”

The state and Gov. Asa Hutchinson encouraged law makers to legislate that letter grades be waived for this year and the results from the test will not affect the students overall grade. This law was legislated and will be enforced this year.

The tool kit further explained measures developed that states that students and faculty safety is top priority. Safety protocols included enforcing masks, social distancing, and disinfecting surfaces.

The testing days will take place on Saturdays, after school hours, and at alternative locations. This allows smaller group testing and more time for each testing session. Parents who have concerns about high-risk health issues are urged by the state to contact their student’s school to explore options for the testing.