The Idaho Department of Education announced Thursday that it is working with 30 states from across the country to develop the next generation of student progress assessments. Idaho will take the lead in the group, which is applying for a substantial amount of federal funding to fuel the assessment development process.
The aim of the collection of states, which features several of Idaho's neighboring states, including Utah, Montana, Washington, Nevada, and Oregon, is to develop common core assessment standards for students in grades three through eight, as well as grade 11. States will have the option to add additional exams for students in ninth and 10th grades. Those participating in the process, educators from around the state, will collaborate with those in the other states to develop course standards that encourage problem solving and critical thinking among students. Educators will also be looking to create an assessment system that will make it easier for students to determine a student's progress or weakness in key areas. Those working to develop the system will also look to find functional and efficient ways to write, score, and analyze tests.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said the move to join the group is the right direction for Idaho's students. “This is a great step forward for Idaho. By working with 30 other states, we will create improved assessment tools that Idaho educators can use in the classroom throughout the school year to guide instruction and inform decision-making at every level,” Luna said. “The goal is to ensure every student who graduates from an Idaho high school is prepared to go on to postsecondary education or the workforce without the need for remediation. To reach this goal, we must have high-quality assessment tools in place at all levels to measure student progress.”
The states are seeking a $160 million federal grant to develop the assessment system. The U.S. Department of Education is expected to decide in September if the 31 states will receive the funding. If the group is awarded the federal dollars, they would be used in a four-year process to develop the assessment system.