Montana 2020-2021 Strategic Waiver:            Public Comment Survey
The "Public Comment Survey" is organized around the following sections to address (1) Profile Information, (2) Adequate Notice, (3) State Testing Waiver, (4) Training and Technical Assistance, (5) Accountability Waiver, (6) Reporting Waiver, (7) Fiscal Impacts, and (8) Closing. The questions in Survey Sections 2-8 are optional so you may answer a select few or all questions based on your interest. Click the "Submit" at the end when you are finished to record and finalize your submission. There are 44 unique questions in total.

As of [Timestamp: 12/23/2020], the participation requirement to administer annual state standardized assessments is required under federal and state law. The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) recognizes that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses many new challenges and is seeking maximum flexibility and options under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The “Montana Strategic Waiver Actions Timeline” is specific to the 2020–2021 school year and reflects the state activities that led to Superintendent Arntzen’s December 2020 decision to submit a request for testing, accountability, and reporting federal waivers under 20 U.S. Code §7861 and ESEA-ESSA Section 8401.

Q: Why is the OPI pursuing these strategic waivers? The pandemic impact continues to increase and the health and safety concerns for our students continue to rise. With highly variable instructional models, health and safety concerns, and school access restrictions, the OPI is concerned about the overall validity and reliability of any score reports.

Q: What does this strategic waiver process mean? The OPI and school districts cannot act on the waivers until a determination has been made by the Department and the Montana Board of Public Education (Board). The Department may take up to 120 days to approve or deny the waiver requests under the Section 8401 process. While we wait for a decision from the Department we are obligated to proceed with all current obligations in existing law and policy.

Q: Who do we contact for technical support?  For more information, contact the OPI Assessment Help Desk at 844-867-2569 or

Q: How can I make sure my voice is heard? The OPI is reaching out to all interested stakeholders to solicit public comment on the implications of the strategic waivers. Completing this "Public Comment Survey" is vital for the OPI to understand the need and implications of the waivers. Comments can also be directed to and you can attend the strategic waiver zoom webinars. Details on this are posted on the 2020–2021 Montana Strategic Waiver Website at

Public comment on these waivers is open from December 23, 2020, to January 28, 2021 [36 days]. Please answer the questions below so the OPI can gather your response to the proposed waivers.

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