Legislative Update 3/3: Assessments

HSB 172 relating to a statewide assessment of student progress on the core academic indicators in mathematics, reading, and science administered by school districts has been renumbered as HF 446 and placed on the calendar.

HF 446 simply expresses legislative intent to address statewide assessments during the current legislative session and was apparently passed out of committee as a shell bill so that the assessment issue survives the first funnel deadline (this Friday) while legislators determine what they want to do. Possibilities include adopting the Smarter Balanced assessments or adopting the Smarter Balanced assessments with a delay to give schools an opportunity to build the technology infrastructure that will be needed to administer the assessments.

The Legislature could, of course, choose to adopt another assessment (Next Generation Iowa Assessments or ACT/ACT Aspire, for example), choose to collect more information about Iowa’s technology readiness and costs to prepare for statewide online assessments before making a decision on new assessments, or choose to take no action.

It is not too early to let legislators in the House, as well as Senate Education Committee members, know how you feel about the Smarter Balanced assessments. Action will need to be taken by both the full House and the Senate Education Committee in the next four-and-a-half weeks for the bill to survive the second funnel deadline (Friday, April 3rd).