The Idaho Department of Education began airing radio ads Wednesday telling parents that testing based on Idaho Core Standards is about to begin.
Schools will test 150,000 students in third through eighth and 10th grades beginning Monday.
The ads are airing in Boise, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Twin Falls and Coeur d’Alene for the next couple of weeks.
Cost of the ads, including production, is just under $5,000 and is paid for by the Department of Education.
With the sound of a school bell and kids playing in the background, a voice on the ad says Idaho students have been studying all year for an exam that will measure students knowledge of the state’s higher standards, adopted in 2011.
The test was prepared by Smarter Balanced, a consortium of states, and can be used to compare Idaho’s academic preparedness with other states across the county.
Parents are cautioned in the ad against comparing results of the new exam with the old Idaho Standards Achievement Test, which assessed students on a lower standard.
Testing is going forward despite criticism from some parents and other groups who question the need for the exam or think it should be written by Idahoans for Idaho students. Many also object to the Common Core State Standards, goals for what students should know by graduation, adopted by about 40 states across the country.
To read the Idaho Statesman’s comprehensive guide to the state’s Idaho Core Standards achievement test, click here.