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Rep. Steckman: Governor’s veto forces school districts to pay for tests

From Rep. Sharon Steckman –

Sharon Steckman
Sharon Steckman
The Governor vetoed a portion of the Education budget that would have delayed the Smarter Balanced Assessment requirements one year. The main reason for the delay was due to the cost to implement the test, but now the test is scheduled to take effect next school year (2016-17).

After receiving a minimal 2.25% increase in state funding over a year late, the Governor’s veto will mean that school districts will have to come up with the implementation costs of the extensive new test. The test is estimated to cost around $10 million, but it could be higher with the potential cost of network upgrades and buying computers to implement the test. In addition, school districts have already set their budgets for next year, and this will be a major additional cost.

Currently, Iowa schools use the Iowa Tests developed by ACT in Iowa City. A taskforce, set up by the 2013 Education Reform bill, recommended the move away from to the Iowa Tests to the Smarter Balanced test. The Smarter Balanced test is done on computer and adaptive to student’s answers, meaning questions will change based on response.

In 2015, the Iowa State Board of Education took the recommendation of the Taskforce and required Iowa schools to move the Smarter Balanced test for mathematics and reading. At the time, there were 27 states that were scheduled to use or were using the Smarter Balanced assessment. That has currently dropped down to 13 states with Wisconsin being one of the states that dropped the assessment after significant issues in implementation.

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