Denise Juneau is continuing her stellar work as the Superintendent of Public Instruction, announcing today that 11th grade students will no longer be required to take the Smarter Balanced assessments. Instead, students will continue to take the ACT exam
Juneau said, in a press release:
Montana is one of 13 states that provides the ACT to all juniors for free. It doesn’t make sense to ask juniors to take the ACT and the Smarter Balanced assessment. The change will cut testing time for public high school students by two-thirds, and allow them to focus on preparing for college and career.
It’s absolutely the right move, and not just because I have been calling for it for years. The ACT assessment is better for our students, a more accurate measurement of college readiness, and has the undeniable benefit of having student buy-in. Evaluating our schools on the basis of tests that both educators and students know has little impact on their academic futures was always going to fail, but focusing on the ACT will give students the chance to take a test that measures their abilities on a meaningful test.
The tests previously required were plagued with vendor problems, took far too long to complete, and have been shown to have serious problems in other states.
This 11th grade teacher couldn’t be happier, and Montana students have all been given an early Christmas gift with the decision to reduce the testing that takes place in schools.