Note: The Iowa Assessments (formerly known as ITBS/ITED) continue to be the statewide assessments required for accountability purposes. Legislative action will be required to replace the Iowa Assessments with the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
Why the rush to adopt the Smarter Balanced Assessments?
I attended a session with government reorganization consultants once. Cards were handed out and we were instructed to write down what we’d like to change in the juvenile court system if money were no object. These consultants were wasting my time, and the time of everyone else in the session, because the truth is that in juvenile court, as in public education, money (and time, for that matter) are always limiting factors.
We have to set priorities because there is not enough time in the school day/year or money in the school budget to do everything we could possibly want to do.
We know that the Smarter Balanced Assessments will cost more money and take more time to administer than the current Iowa Assessments. Are they worth the loss of additional instruction time? Are they worth more than spending the money for instructional purposes instead?
I don’t see how we can answer those questions in the affirmative until SBAC delivers actual, full-length assessments for all grade levels.
In the meantime, we already have an assessment aligned with the Iowa Core/Common Core: the Iowa Assessments. Why not wait and see how the Smarter Balanced Assessments performs in practice for other states before we decide whether or not to commit to using it?
– Iowa Assessments Smarter Balanced (times are estimated)
Grades Core Complete Short Long Latest Estimates*
3 4h30min 5h40min 6h30min 10h30min 7h
4-5 3h45min 4h55min 6h30min 10h30min 7h
6-8 3h45min 4h55min 7h 11h 7h30min
HS 2h35min 3h55min 8h 13h 8h30min
Iowa Assessments:** $3.50 per student
Smarter Balanced (summative assessment only): $19.81 per student
Smarter Balanced (with optional interim assessment): $27.31 per student
*HT Joanne Jacobs