Maryland was given a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education on Friday that will allow them to avoid double testing several thousand students who are piloting a new test this spring that is tied to the Common Core.

Under federal law, all students in grades three through eight are to be tested annually in math and reading. The federal government is allowing that law to be waived for the students who take the pilot test, meaning they will not also have to take Maryland's state assessments.

The waiver has been granted to other states and was expected to be approved.

One class of students in nearly every school in Maryland is expected to take the PARCC assessments, the new test tied to the Common Core standards, which were introduced in classrooms across the state this year. The Common Core are more rigorous standards that were adopted by 45 states. Each local school district writes its own curriculum to meet the standards.

Students who don't take the PARCC assessments - the majority of students - will be taking the Maryland School Assessment, which educators say is outdated and is not likely to provide useful information about student achievement because the curriculum has switched.

liz.bowie@baltsun.com