ACT Aspire on-site testing stands

HOPE – Students in grades three through ten must be present on campus during state-mandated ACT Aspire testing which begins April 5, the Arkansas Department of Education has said.

Hope Public Schools Federal Programs and Testing Coordinator Portia Jones said Tuesday the ADE has maintained its requirement for all students to be tested on-site. Jones said parents have contacted her office asking about an “opt out” for virtual academy students.

“The state has said there is no ‘opt out’ for any student,” Jones said.

Jones said the ADE issued guidance in February which required the on-site attendance.

“Parents have asked about opting out because of COVID-19 concerns,” Jones said. “But that is not enough, and a simple doctor’s excuse is not enough.”

She said parents must provide documentation from a doctor the student is “medically fragile” for that student to be exempted from testing.

“The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education has provided flexibilities that allow remote students to test separately from onsite students, additional scheduling options, and extended testing windows,” the ADE said. “These flexibilities will provide districts the greatest ability possible to provide an agreeable testing arrangement for parents and families that meets individual student needs.”

Specific testing dates for ACT Aspire will be announced on applicable campuses. Questions regarding ACT Aspire testing requirements may be directed to Jones’ office at 870-722-2700, ext. 11.