With proposed policy changes, WV may abandon Smarter Balanced

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With proposed policy changes, WV may abandon Smarter Balanced
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

The West Virginia Board of Education decided Wednesday, in a voice vote with no nays heard, to put out for public comment a policy that would shift the standardized tests for all public high schools from Smarter Balanced to end-of-course exams.

These yet-to-be-built tests would affect, to a yet-undeclared extent, students’ grades and their ability to graduate.

Smarter Balanced exams, which are aligned to the Common Core math and English language arts standards and have been targeted for repeal in multiple states, don’t count toward students’ grades or graduation. West Virginia gives annual end-of-year standardized tests in grades 3-11 in public schools.

State education officials have said they are concerned about a lack of effort by high schoolers on the Smarter Balanced exams.

In another voice vote with no nays heard, the school board directed the Department of Education, which the board oversees, to issue a request for proposals to “seek the most appropriate summative assessment” for grades three through eight, which are all the non-high-school grades the federal government requires annual, standardized testing in. The federal government requires testing only once in high school, although West Virginia goes beyond that requirement.

The request for proposals could lead to West Virginia abandoning Smarter Balanced in those lower grades, as well.

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