As of Friday, April 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) budget with an amendment that places several restrictions on the assessment chosen and implemented by the state. Specifically, the amendment states the Department cannot expend funds unless it selects an assessment that meets all the requirements listed:
(a) The assessment system measures student proficiency and growth on the current state curriculum standards and is capable of measuring individual student performance in the following subject matter areas:
(b) The content of the assessment system is aligned with the current state curriculum standards.
(c) The content of the assessment is subject to a transparent review process involving public review and comment.
(d) Ensures that students, parents, and teachers are provided with reports that convey individual student proficiency and growth on the assessment.
(e) Ensures that students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members are provided with reports that convey aggregate student proficiency and growth data for a given school.
(f) Ensures the capability of reporting the necessary data to support educator evaluations.
(g) Ensures that reports are available within 1 month after completion of the exam.
(h) The assessment is capable of being implemented statewide with existing infrastructure in a fully operational manner no later than the 2015-2016 school year.
(i) Except as necessary to support educator evaluations pursuant to subdivision (f), ensures that access to individual student data is available only to the student, parents, legal guardians, administrators, and teachers of the student.
(j) The assessment is pilot tested prior to statewide implementation.
(k) Each exam shall not designate more time to be completed than the previous statewide assessment designated.
(l) The total cost of executing the adopted assessment statewide each year shall not exceed twice the cost of executing the previous statewide assessment after adjustment for inflation.
(2) School districts are not prohibited from adopting interim assessments.
The MDE currently is researching whether these conditions preclude the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) from being used. Further, the Senate removed the funding for assessments related to educator evaluation and student assessment phase-in both in the MDE budget and the School Aid budget. This may have just been to create a point of difference with the House budget. There are still opportunities for change so please reach out and let your legislators know your thoughts on state assessments.