Community Blog: The EDge

State, Treasure Valley districts spar over Common Core tests

As the state launches its new Idaho Core Standards, the state and several of its largest school districts are at odds about how to test students this spring.

Don Coberly
Boise schools Superintendent Don Coberly

The district superintendents say the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test will be costly, and gobble up too much classroom and computer lab time. If this exam will take eight hours to finish, or more, “then we really ought to rethink that,” Boise superintendent Don Coberly says.

The state Education Department concedes that the new test will take more time, but it will also yield more comprehensive student data. Putting the SBAC exam on hold “moves us backward,” says Luci Willits, chief of staff to state superintendent Tom Luna.

The rift pits the state against districts that represent nearly 40 percent of K-12 students. Significantly, this rift has nothing to do with the Idaho Core Standards themselves — new math and English language arts standards that are designed to encourage critical thinking and emphasize writing skills.

The two sides will meet on Dec. 20 to discuss their differences.

Here’s a link to my full story at Idaho Education News.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News ( Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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