Sherri Ybarra, Idaho’s superintendent of public instruction, wants school districts freed from having to give a statewide exam in the ninth grade this year, and also wants a waiver of the requirement that the class of 2018, this year’s sophomores, pass the statewide Common Core exam as a graduation requirement.
Ybarra will make her case to the State Board of Education when it meets Oct. 21-22 in Lewiston, said Jeff Church, Ybarra’s spokesman.
Common Core standards specify what students should know in math and English language arts before they graduate. Versions of the standards have been adopted by most states, including Idaho.
Districts, complaining of too much testing, were dismayed when they learned earlier this month that they would have to add ninth-graders to the list of test takers for this year. Taking the Common Core exam eats up instructional time and clogs district computer resources, educators say.
The federal No Child Left Behind law requires that student take statewide proficiency exams in grades three through eight and once in high school. The exam is now given in 10th grade.
But the state has reverted to an earlier rule that includes ninth-grade testing as well, because the Legislature this year rejected a plan to replace it.
Ybarra has said she supports the minimum testing required. She also says this year’s sophomores should not have to take a high-stakes graduation test. She supports multiple measures of student ability, instead of wrapping measurement into a single test that is new to the state through Common Core.