North Dakota, Wyoming Move Away From Smarter Balanced Tests

By Daarel Burnette II — May 03, 2016 1 min read
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North Dakota and Wyoming state superintendents indicated this week that they will further distance themselves from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

North Dakota State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said during a press conference Tuesday she will task a group of North Dakota teachers to rewrite the state’s math and English standards, according to the Grand Forks Herald. A group of business leaders and lawmakers will review the new standards, which she hopes to have completed by early next year and in place for the 2017-18 school year.

In addition, the state will seek proposals from testing companies to design a statewide standardized test aligned to the new standards. The state currently uses the Smarter Balanced test and will likely use the test in the spring of 2017, Baesler said.

Baesler is up for re-election this year and has been under pressure by lawmakers to move away from the Common Core standards and pull the state out of the Smarter Balanced consortium.

Wyoming’s state superintendent of public instruction, Jillian Balow, said Monday that the state will pull out of the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced Consortium, according to the Associated Press. Balow said she doesn’t want there to be any perception that the state is affiliated with the consortium as it seeks a new testing vendor. Though the state has been a member of the consortium since 2010, it still uses its own locally designed test known as Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students, or PAWS.

Across the country, state lawmakers have repealed the Common Core standards and their associated tests in recent years in fear that they were adopted because of federal pressure.

At least 15 states are current members of the Smarter Balanced consortium.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect that Wyoming has not entered into a contract with Smarter Balanced.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.