Assessment News in Brief

Montana Seeks Waiver to Replace State Tests

By Catherine Gewertz — October 08, 2013 1 min read

Montana has submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education asking for approval of its plan to drop its statewide math and English/language arts testing in 2014 and instead have its students take the field tests being designed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

The state’s decision to seek “double-testing” flexibility was announced last week in a statement issued by Montana’s superintendent of public instruction, Denise Juneau.

Montana is asking the Education Department to allow its students in grades 3-8 and 11 to take the Smarter Balanced field tests rather than the state’s current tests in math and English/language arts.

California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation to set aside most of its STAR testing system and give the Smarter Balanced field tests instead, despite disapproval expressed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

In the guidance the federal department issued for states on the double-test waivers, officials made it clear that for a proposal to succeed, it would have to include students taking a full-length version of either a consortium field test or the state’s current test in both subjects.

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