MDE recommends Smarter Balanced Assessment as the only assessment option for Common Core

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) reported to legislators that the only option for testing students on the Common Core State Standards is the Smarter Balanced assessment. The report is part of a resolution passed last fall by the Legislature authorizing MDE to spend state funds on implementing the standards.

MDE made its recommendation after 12 groups, including the Smarter Balanced, ACT, and the College Board, provided information. MDE considered the grade levels, subjects and types of test questions on each test—along with cost—before determining that “Smarter Balanced exams remain the only viable option that will satisfy all of the multiple needs for test security, student data privacy, a Michigan governance role, Michigan educator involvement, minimizing local burdens, cost effectiveness, Michigan access to all data to allow for verification, and so on.”

Because an assessment must be in place for the 2014-15 school year or the state would be in violation of federal law, MDE recommends Smarter Balanced assessments be used and continue through the 2015-16 school year also. During that time, the state can conduct a bidding process to find another vendor for future years.

Michigan signed on to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in 2010 after it adopted Common Core. The Senate Education Committee will be meeting Wed., Jan. 15 to discuss MDE’s recommendation.