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State Board of Education endorses assessment proposal

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Members of the State Board of Education today endorsed a state task force’s recommendation to adopt the Smarter Balanced assessments as Iowa’s new state test.

The endorsement was part of a board resolution that was adopted in a unanimous vote during a meeting by telephone. The resolution will be sent to Iowa legislators for consideration.

Board members gave several reasons they support the Smarter Balanced assessments, including the need to accurately measure how students have progressed in meeting Iowa’s academic standards. The standards represent statewide expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Iowa needs an assessment that is closely aligned with our state standards, reflects what is taught in classrooms and moves us toward having students demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for success beyond high school,” said Charlie Edwards of Des Moines, the board’s president. “We support the Assessment Task Force’s conclusion that Smarter Balanced is the right assessment system for Iowa.”  

Adopting the Smarter Balanced assessments was the centerpiece of a Dec. 31 report from the Assessment Task Force, created by lawmakers in 2013 to study Iowa’s assessment needs. Legislators had directed the task force to recommend an assessment that aligns with statewide standards; accurately describes student achievement and growth for the purposes of accountability; provides valid, reliable and fair measures of student progress toward college or career readiness; and has been piloted in Iowa schools.

State Board of Education members closely followed the task force’s work.

“We have great confidence in the task force, which represents a cross-section of stakeholders who understand our state assessment needs,” said Mary Ellen Miller, a board member from Wayne County.

The Smarter Balanced assessments were developed by a consortium of states guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system aligned to rigorous academic standards can improve teaching and can help prepare students for success in college and career training.

Iowa students currently take the Iowa Assessments in grades 3-8 and 11 in math and reading to meet state and federal accountability laws. The Iowa Assessments are developed and administered by Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa.

The Legislature in 2012 mandated the Iowa Assessments for state and federal accountability purposes. However, the Legislature opened the door for a successor assessment in 2013 by creating the Assessment Task Force as part of House File 215, the landmark education reform bill.

For more information about the Smarter Balanced assessments, visit:


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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on January 16, 2018 at 9:04am.