Legislative Update 2/25: Assessments

The first funnel deadline, March 6th, is just about a week-and-a-half away. The Assessment Task Force report was supposed to be presented to the House Education Committee this afternoon, but that presentation has been postponed, and it is still unclear what action, if any, the Iowa Legislature will take with regard to adopting an assessment for the 2016-2017 school year.

HF 269 by Staed (D-Linn) relating to academic indicators for students. This bill would add writing and social studies to the list of subjects (mathematics, reading, and science) required to be assessed. [Note: the Smarter Balanced assessments do not assess social studies or science.] [Subcomittee: Stanerson (R-Linn), Gassman (R-Winnebago), and Staed (D-Linn).]

HF 312 by Salmon (R-Black Hawk) and ten co-sponsors relating to statewide assessments of student progress administered by school districts for purposes of the core academic indicators. This bill would fix “the Iowa assessments developed by Iowa testing programs” as the statewide assessment of student progress on the core academic indicators. [Question: would this language allow for the Next Generation Iowa Assessments developed by ITP to be used?] This bill would also prohibit the State Board of Education and the DE from adopting, administering, or approving the administration of assessments developed by SBAC.

This bill would also strike the following subparagraphs:

  • 256.7(21)(b)(2) which expands the grades assessed on the core academic indicators to grades three through eleven for the school years beginning with 2016-2017 and includes some of the minimum legislative requirements used by the task force to evaluate assessments.
  • 256.7(21)(b)(3) which established the assessment task force, which recommended adoption of the Smarter Balanced assessments, and includes some of the other minimum legislative requirements used by the task force to evaluate assessments.
  • 256.7(21)(b)(4) which directed the State Board of Education, which also recommended adoption of the Smarter Balanced assessments, to submit recommendations to the Iowa Legislature about assessments.

[Subcommittee: Highfill (R-Polk), Forristall (R-Pottawattamie), and Winckler (D-Scott).]

HSB 172 proposed Committee on Education bill relating to a statewide assessment of student progress on the core academic indicators on the core academic indicators in mathematics, reading, and science administered by school districts. The entirety of the bill is a statement that it is the intent of the general assembly to address during the 2015 legislative session the administration by school districts of a statewide assessment of student progress which, in accordance with section 256.7, subsection 21, paragraph “b”, at a minimum assesses student progress on the core academic indicators in mathematics and reading in grades four, eight, and eleven, and the core academic indicators in science in grades eight and eleven. [Subcommittee: Forristall (R-Pottawattamie), Jorgensen (R-Woodbury), and Steckman (D-Cerro Gordo).]

This bill was recorded today and is scheduled for a subcommittee meeting at 8:00 am tomorrow (2/26). My best guess, for whatever that’s worth, is that at some point a strike and replace amendment will be offered for this bill, with the amendment containing language to adopt the Smarter Balanced assessments and perhaps other task force recommendations.

HSB 173 proposed Committee on Education bill relating to core content standards, assessments, and curricula relating to student academic progress, and to the collection of and access to student data. This bill changes “core curriculum”, “Iowa core curriculum” and “Iowa common core” to “Iowa core content standards”, and makes some other terminology changes. This bill clarifies that the Iowa core content standards shall not dictate curriculum or prescribe a particular method of instruction to school districts and accredited nonpublic schools. This bill makes use of the Iowa core content standards technical assistance and implementation strategies developed by the DE and AEAs by Iowa school districts voluntary rather than mandatory. This bill also directs the DE to establish data collection, data privacy, and data sharing policies for data relating to students. [Subcommittee: Jorgensen (R-Woodbury), Forristall (R-Pottawattamie), and Winckler (D-Scott).]

I don’t see any other bills related to assessment in either chamber, though I’m happy to be corrected if I have missed something.

Bottom-line, with eleven Republicans co-sponsoring the anti-SBAC bill, Smarter Balanced assessments won’t be adopted unless some Democrats in both the House and the Senate vote for it. Anyone have any idea where the Democrats stand on Smarter Balanced assessments?

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