Maine Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill last week that requires the state to leave Smarter Balanced, the testing consortium that provided the common-core aligned assessments state students took this past spring.
LePage, a Republican, signed Legislative Document 1276, which was filed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, on June 16. The legislation means that Maine will have to search for a new English/language arts and math assessment for the 2015-16 school year, or else develop its own.
I’ve asked the Maine Department of Education whether this law prevents the state from using any Smarter Balanced test items on its future exams, and how exactly the state will go about picking or developing its new test. I will update this blog post when I hear back from the department.
UPDATE: According to state education department acting deputy commissioner Rachelle Tome (via email), here’s the department’s view on the use of any Smarter Balanced items on the state’s next exam: “There is a possibility that an assessment company, working on behalf of ME, could use these items. I can’t speak to the process for gaining access, but they were developed with federal grant $. Maine DOE does not have the capacity to develop an assessment on our own.”
The department also plans to issue a request for proposal for a new test this summer, according to Tome.
Last month, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, signed a budget that cut off funding for Smarter Balanced and required the state to seek a new exam. And Wisconsin has already issued a request-for-proposal to replace Smarter Balanced in 2016—state legislators are also set to vote on a 2015-17 budget that defunds the exam.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.