Thursday, July 09, 2015

Missouri withdraws from Common Core testing consortium

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) did not send out any news releases about this, since everyone in the state department firmly believes in Common Core State Standards, but Missouri is no longer a member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which prepares Common Core tests.

The action was officially taken Wednesday in a letter to the consortium. The legislature forced DESE to take the action by passing a law requiring the state to pull out of the consortium.

The text of the letter is printed below:

Mr. Tony Alpert
 Executive Director Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
 10954 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 1400 
Los Angeles, CA 90095 

Dear Mr. Alpert: 

I am writing to inform the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium that Missouri will not continue as a licensee of materials for the 2015-2016 school year per section 2.2.d of the MOU. The appropriations bill passed by the legislature and signed by the governor contains language preventing the agency from spending money as a member or licensee of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. 

The appropriations bill, House Bill 2 contains the following directions: 

To the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education For the Performance Based Assessment Program, provided that no funds are used to support the collection, distribution, or sharing of any individually identifiable student data with federal government with the exception of the reporting requirements of the Migrant Education Program funds in Section 2.085, the Vocational Rehabilitation funds in Section 2.135, and the Disability Determination funds in Section 2.140, and further provided that no funds from this section shall be used for license fees or membership dues for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and further provided that not later than February 1, 2016 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall submit a plan for review and approval by the House Budget Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, and further provided that $7,000,000 be used solely for development of a Missouri-based state assessment plan, and further provided that no funds from this section shall be used for assessments which generate results used to lower a public school district's accreditation or a teacher's evaluation. 

Included with this letter you will find the required legal opinion affirming that Missouri may no longer engage with the consortium as a member or licensee. Thank you for your time and concern regarding this matter. 

Sharon Helwig, Ph.D. 
Assistant Commissioner


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if this makes the $300,000 assessment system that Joplin Schools just subscribed to a moot point? As I recall, that was brought to us by Sarah Stevens and recommended by her pal Paul Bloomberg, whose business is called the Core Collaborative. Perhaps Sarah can refund the money to the district if the test is now not all that relevant. It was a bad mistake, and one the Board must already regret, what few of them are left who voted on it.

Anonymous said...

I thought the board voted to discontinue their Core Collaborative contract?

I am a robot. said...

Now now, she will find an equally valuable use for those appropriated funds. Let's not get all crazy and start demanding money back.

Anonymous said...

They DID discontinue Core Collaborative. This testing is a separate item. It tests kids on computers. It is supposed to save time with testing.
The REAL problem with testing is that the tests required by the federal government, the state and the district do not help or inform teachers about students and what they need. Teachers generally end up using different information to meet student needs. That's what we're trained to do. All those other things are a waste of time for a classroom.