Consortium Watch: Kansas Drops Out of Smarter Balanced Testing Group

By Catherine Gewertz — December 12, 2013 1 min read
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The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has lost a member: Kansas has decided to pull out of the common-core testing group and use tests designed by its state university instead.

According to local media reports, the state board voted yesterday to withdraw from the consortium. Commissioner Diane DeBacker said she would notify Smarter Balanced.

The Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas, which has been designing the state’s tests for more than 30 years, will apparently continue in that capacity. Co-director Marianne Perie tells me they began writing common-core-aligned items two years ago, and field-tested them this past spring. They’ll have a machine-scored common-core test ready for the state in 2014, and the 2015 version will include a writing prompt and performance tasks as well.

With that news, our updated consortium map, below, shows the current state of assessment-consortium play nationally. (You can always find the most recent EdWeek assessment consortium map online, too.)

But as we’ve been saying, our map currently captures only the technical who’s-in and who’s-out of membership in Smarter Balanced and PARCC (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), the two state consortia. It doesn’t show states that still belong to a consortium but have said they won’t use those tests, such as Pennsylvania. It also doesn’t show the states that are wavering, like Kentucky, while they explore their options. Michigan, too, has been in that category, but seems to be tilting toward sticking with Smarter Balanced in the wake of a legislative report that recommended SBAC as the best option.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.