Alaska Pulls Out of Smarter Balanced

state-flag-alaskaThe Fairbanks News-Miner reports that the Alaska State Department of Education and Early Development announced the state was pulling out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  Alaska was an advisory state, not a governing member of the consortium that has seen a number of states leave.

Alaska announced its plan Tuesday to pull out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and hire a new group, Assessment & Achievement Institute to create its English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments.

The state had been a member of the consortium, one of two splitting more than $300 million in federal funding to create state assessments, since April 2013. Forty-two states had signed up as members of the two consortia, Smarter Balanced and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, prior to Alaska’s departure brought the number down to 41.

Instead of using the assessment being created by Smarter Balanced, Alaska will go with one tailored specifically to its new state standards, which vary slightly from the Common Core State Standards on which the consortium’s test is based.

"What we were looking at was that we would find a vendor who could build an assessment strictly on our standards and that would include our educators," said Erik McCormick, director of assessment with the state Department of Education and Early Development.

Read the rest of the article.  I also want to encourage everyone to check out Stop the Common Core in Alaska for additional local reaction to this news.