From the Commissioner's weekly update:
Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all states are required to assess the full range of their academic content standards, including the speaking and listening standards contained in the 2011 Massachusetts English Language Arts and Literacy Curriculum Frameworks. However, because some states have not yet established viable ways to measure speaking and listening skills using a large-scale assessment, the U.S. Department of Education is allowing states to apply for a waiver of this requirement for at least the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education intends to seek such a waiver and is giving the public a chance to review and comment on ESE's intended waiver request.
Comments on ESE's intent to apply for a waiver may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 12, 2016.