McPherson USD 418 Superintendent Dr. Randy Watson received the phone call he had been waiting months for Thursday.
It was the U.S. Department of Education informing Watson that the district has been granted a waiver from state standardized tests.
“This is fantastic news,” Watson said. “This is really exciting for us and the students.”
The waiver is part of the district’s new Citizenship, College and Career Ready (C3) initiative.
As part of changes, school board members had applied to the state board of education to discontinue using the state standardized test to test student’s in different subject areas and at different grade levels. The district requested to instead use tests developed by the ACT company. The request was ultimately forwarded to the U.S. Department of Education where Watson said the U.S. Secretary of Education was personally involved in the decision.
The new ACT tests will be used at both the middle and high school levels and would, Watson said, help the district better align curriculum to college standards and help prepare students for entrance into two and four-year institutions.
The district has already started using the new ACT exams this year, and with the approval of the U.S. Department of Education can now forego standardized tests that were scheduled to begin in just a few weeks.

Read more about the district's waiver and what is means for students in Friday's McPherson Sentinel.