The original HB 1432 came to a merciful end in the House Education Committee yesterday. It was amended out of existence when the committee accepted an amendment by Rep. Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill) that replaced the original bill with a a requirement that the New Hampshire Department of Education submit a report on Smarter Balanced and other aspects of the New Hampshire assessment strategy.
Even then, however, the committee was unclear about the benefit of this particular approach to looking at the assessment issue and voted to recommend interim study for the bill by a vote of 8-7.
HB 1432 with the Committee Recommended Amendment (it has Rep. Murotake’s name on it but it was authored by Rep. Ladd) has a logic that is very difficult to understand. It says that the New Hampshire Department of Education can administer the Smarter Balanced test in the 2014/15 and the 2015/16 school years but cannot use the test after that. But it also requires NHDOE to submit a wide-ranging report about:
- Does Smarter Balanced meet NH statutory requirements
- Review the State’s entire standards and assessment policy to determine how each academic area is assessed.
- Determine whether a different testing scheme – testing every other year, for instance – would be appropriate
- Determine whether Smarter Balanced is aligned with NH standards and be sure it does not measure student dispositions
- Determine how the assessment system will provide data for evaluation of schools and teachers and principals
- Review student data privacy in all testing of any kind in the state,
- Identify costs of assessments and whether they constitute a 28-a issue.
- Recommend legislation in response to any problems found.
The report is due by September 15, 2015.
And, after this report is submitted and approved by the legislative oversight committee, the Ladd amendment seems to say, NHDOE could no longer administer the Smarter Balanced assessment. In other words, if NHDOE submitted the required report on time, and if the committee approved the report, the department would not be authorized to administer the test in the 2015/16 school year. If the department of education did NOT submit the report, it COULD administer the test in 2016. But not after that.
And the Ladd amendment charges the U.S. Education Department with coordinating with NHDOE to make all this work out – basically requiring the USED to give NH the first waiver it would ever have given to just not administer a test of any kind.