So much for Oregon’ commitment to the Smarter Balanced exams.
In a shocking action, after just two years of using the tests, the Oregon Department of Education has decided to abandon the controversial Smarter Balanced tests at the high school level.
According to Education Week, Oregon will continue to administer the exam to students in grades 3-8 and 11 through the spring of 2018, state education department spokeswoman Tricia Yates told the publication. Starting in 2018-19, only students in grades 3-8 will take the test, she said.
Yates said Oregon will explore using a “nationally recognized” test, such as the SAT or ACT, for high school student going forward. The state will issue a “request for information” this spring to collect ideas from the field, and then issue a “request for proposals” later this summer, she added.
Federal law has long allowed states to use college-admissions exams in place of other summative tests for accountability, but few states have done so. The Every Student Succeeds Act invites states to use “a nationally recognized high school test” for accountability instead of state-developed or consortium-designed exams.
The popularity of the consortium tests has eroded particularly at the high school level. Trying to cut back on testing time and boost students’ motivation to do well on a high school test, states are increasingly opting to use the ACT or SAT.
Oregon’s decision is particularly significant because leaders of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium drew heavily on Oregon’s experience with computer-adaptive testing when they set out to craft the new exam in 2010, Education Week said.
The state’s decision likely has the support of the Oregon Education Association (OEA), which has aggressively opposed the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests. In June 2015, Gov. Kate Brown pleased the OEA, but exasperated and angered many school officials, when she signed a bill making it easier for children to opt out of standardized tests, including the Smarter Balanced Assessment.