Friday, March 13, 2015

Koster to back DESE in effort to hang on to Common Core tests

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education appears determined to ignore the actions of the state legislature, and now Attorney General Chris Koster is going along for the ride.

A couple of weeks ago, a judge ruled that Missouri's participation in the group that is creating Common Core tests was illegal.

Even though the legislature has mandated the creation of new education standards for the state, DESE has ignored this and continues pushing full speed ahead and seems to think it can fool all of us by referring to Common Core Standards as Missouri Learning Standards.

In the following DESE news release, it is announced that Koster will use taxpayer money to file an appeal to the judge's decision:

The Attorney General’s office, on behalf of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the State Board of Education, filed an appeal to the ruling against the state’s membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The SBAC is a group of states working together to create common assessments and to share the cost of creating those tests.

This ruling has potential implications for other state departments that work with other states to share resources and share costs for providing services to the public. These state agreements should continue for the mutual benefit of all citizens.

The ruling does not affect spring assessments, as the state has already finalized testing plans for Spring 2015. Independent of Missouri’s membership in the SBAC, the Board and the Department support high quality assessments aligned with the Missouri Learning Standards.

“This year’s grade-level tests raise expectations for our students, and we know our kids can meet those expectations,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “If we are going to be a top state for education, we need to believe that all students can learn and fulfill their potential.”

The grade-level tests reduce testing time to approximately an hour in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7. Grades 5 and 8 will take the full assessment in order to demonstrate students’ readiness for middle school and high school.

This is the first year students in elementary school will take Missouri assessments on computers. End-of-course tests have been computer-based since 2010. The computerized tests are interactive, allowing students to solve problems and develop skills students will need.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one more case where politicians are messing in something they know nothing about--education.
If you look at this State Board of Education, they are all politicians. They are either career politicians at the state level or they are education politicians. None of them have any education background in early education, not preschool or elementary. That in itself shows they do not have the background to make good decisions for young children. Since they are career politicians, they are not interested in anything except politics.
The MAP test that has been given in the past was considered to be one of the hardest tests in the country. If that is the goal, then why the need to completely change the assessment? Why wouldn't you find a way to convert it to a digital format if that is part of what you want to have happen?
If this Consortium is supposed to cut the cost on designing test, it seems that the opposite has occurred. How much time and money has been spent (and wasted) messing with these tests?
Make no mistake, this is all about politics. Someone in this bunch of politicians is getting money, job perks or big ego strokes to do this.
Mr. Koster, how about filing something that will truly make a difference for kids?