'Smarter Balanced' exam put on hold in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'Smarter Balanced' exam put on hold in Iowa

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School administrations are wondering what is next after plans for a new statewide exam are put on hold. 

Iowa school districts have been planning to welcome the Smarter Balanced assessment next spring which would replace the current Iowa Assessment. 

Governor Branstad's office asked the Department of Education to pause on the idea of the new test, republican lawmakers worried the exam would be too expensive.

Iowa students have been taking the Iowa Assessment for years but it wasn't designed to directly align with the Iowa Core, meaning what is taught in the classroom. 

"We are required to teach a set of content standards that is the core and to the extent that we have an assessment that is directly aligned to that core so that were getting a true result relative to what we are expected to teach is what I was most excited about with Smarter Balanced," says Dr. Brad Buck, Superintendent of Cedar Rapids schools. 

The Smarter Balanced exam is meant to be consistent with statewide standards in the classroom and has been in the works to become Iowa's new statewide exam for years. 

"Trying to bring alignment in the state between what is expected to be taught and how that is measured and reported is one of the things I'm disappointed in losing, in the pause of Smarter Balance," says Dr. Buck. 

School districts are left wondering what to expect next year. 
"How do we get to an assessment that we all feel confident about that measures what kids know and are able to do compared to what is being expected to be taught," Buck told us. 

Originally a task force recommended the state would go with the Smarter Balanced assessment, now lawmakers will discuss other potentially cheaper exam options. 

Multiple administrations told KWWL they were looking forward to the Smarter Balanced exam because of it's alignment with the Iowa Core.  

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