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Letter to Parents The new Idaho Core Standards

Letter to Parents

The new Idaho Core Standards

Dear Parent,

In the 2014-15 school year, Idaho will roll out new assessments in mathematics and English Language Arts that are aligned to the new Idaho Core Standards. These new assessments will be used to gauge how well students are mastering these new, higher academic standards. In high school grades, these assessments will ultimately be used to determine how ready students are for education after high school and the workforce.

These new assessments are the next-generation of assessments and will differ from the previous Idaho Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT) in several ways. Whereas the ISAT only measured student knowledge based on multiple-choice questions, the new test will include different question types – such open-ended response, technology-enhanced items, and performance tasks – to better measure what a student truly knows and is able to do at the end of each grade level. In addition, the new test will adapt to your child’s ability so your local school can better measure how much academic growth your child has demonstrated in a given school year.

While this new test will not be officially administered to all students until spring 2015, all of Idaho’s public schools will be participating in a field test this spring to ensure that the testing process runs smoothly when new tests are administered next year. This means that your child will take the field tests in math and English language arts this spring 2014, instead of taking the ISAT in math, reading, and language usage.

The purpose of the field test is to “test the test” and help prepare schools, teachers, and students for the full implementation of the new assessments in spring 2015. Because this is a field test, similar to a pilot, no scores will be sent home for your child from the field test. However, taking this field test will still greatly benefit your child because he or she will experience the new test a year in advance and become more familiar with the different types of questions.

To see the different types of test questions that will be on the new assessments, go tohttps://sbacpt.tds.airast.org/student/ and click the “sign-in” button or go tohttp://sampleitems.smarterbalanced.org/itempreview/sbac/ELA.htm

Please note, if your child is in 5th, 7th, or 10th grade, he or she will still be required to take the statewide ISAT in science this spring.

If you have any questions about the field test of the new assessments aligned to the Idaho Core Standards or the other information provided in this letter, please contact your school principal or district superintendent at 226-5173.

Below is the information from an opinion of the Attorney General of the State concerning testing of students in Idaho

Public school districts cannot refuse to implement the minimum
academic standards established by the State Board of Education.

The Idaho Constitution provides"... it shall be the duty ofthe legislature ofIdaho,
to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system ofpublic, free common
schools. Article IX, Section 1. The Idaho Constitution also provides that the "general
supervision ofthe state education institutions and public school system of the state of
Idaho, shall be vested in the state board of education". Article IX, Section 2 (emphasis
added}.' As part ofits supervision ofpublic schools, the SBOE is required to "prescribe
the minimum courses to be taught in all public elementary and secondary schools, and
shall cause to be prepared and issued, such syllabi, study guides and other instructional
aids as the board shall from time to time deem necessary". I.C. § 33-118. Additionally,
the SBOE is required to promulgate rules "to establish a thorough system of public
schools with uniformity as required by the constitution..." I.C. § 33-1612.

Ofthe various rules promulgated by the SBOE, the dispositive rule for purposes of

this analysis provides in pertinent part as follows:

The standards set forth in Section 004 ofthis rule [] are state content
standards that shall be the minimum standards used by every school district in
the state in order to establish a level of academic content necessary to
graduate from Idaho's public schools. Each school district may set standards
more rigorous than these state content standards but no district shall use any
standardsless rigorous than those set forth in these Thoroughness rules.

3 See also Idaho Code § 33-116
("All school districts in Idaho, including specially chartered school districts, shall
be under the supervision and control ofthe state board").

Tom Luna
Superintendent ofPublic Instruction
May 3, 2013

IDAPA (emphasis added). Consequently, public school districts cannot
refuse to implement the minimum standards established by the SBOE, but may go
beyond such established minimums ifthe district desires to establish a more rigorous set
I hope that you find this analysis helpful.
Deputy Attorney General

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David Halverson,
Oct 28, 2013, 2:04 PM
David Halverson,
Oct 28, 2013, 2:03 PM