The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is formally seeking a test to replace the Smarter Balanced exam in English/language arts and math, in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2015-17 budget that would defund the test.
Molly Beck of the Wisconsin State Journal reports that the department would seek to have a new test in place for the 2015-16 school year, and notes that if Walker’s plan to defund Smarter Balanced succeeds and the state picks a new test, it would be the third test for Wisconsin students in grades 3-8 in three years. (Smarter Balanced, which is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, is known as the “Badger Exam” in Wisconsin.)
Walker has also expressed opposition to the standards over the past year or so, but he’s not the only one to be critical of Smarter Balanced in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin education department has expressed frustration with various problems administering Smarter Balanced this year. Due to technical issues, the state had to drop the adaptive feature of the test, which presents questions to students based on their previous responses, as well as some test items that required more complex answers. There were also delays in administering the test.
The Wisconsin department has blamed the Educational Testing Service, which is the vendor administering the test in Wisconsin.
High school students are taking the ACT exam in Wisconsin, and Walker’s budget apparently doesn’t impact that testing plan.
Other states to experience significant problems with Smarter Balanced this spring include Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota, as my colleague Michele Molnar and I wrote about recently. But unlike Wisconsin, none of those states have subsequently declared that they’re going on a formal quest to replace Smarter Balanced.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.