Schools in rural Colorado that opt out of tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards would be able to design and pilot their own exams under new legislation passed by lawmakers last week, according to a story by the Associated Press.
The legislation, which also cut testing requirements, could ease the burden of administering new, online assessments. Many rural districts in Colorado and across the country have reported that a lack of funding, computers, and high-speed Internet access have made it difficult to administer the new online exams. Small, rural districts have also been concerned about linking test scores to teacher evaluations in schools with small sample sizes.
Colorado is not alone in its efforts to give districts more control over their assessments. As Alyson Klein wrote earlier this year, New Hampshire got approval from the U.S. Department of Education in March to pilot competency-based tests instead of the state exams in some districts. Legislation proposed in Kentucky this year sought permission for “districts of innovation” to propose and administer local assessments.
According to the AP, more details about Colorado’s bill should emerge this week when rural school superintendents address the state board of education.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.