Thursday afternoon District Superintendents in South Carolina Public Schools received a memo from Dr. Nancy Busbee, the Deputy Superintendent in the Accountability Department at the South Carolina Department of Education. She said that the department is taking steps to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. School districts are to suspend any Smarter Balanced Assessment field-testing this year.
Here’s the text of the memo:
This communication notifies districts that the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) is taking steps to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Other states have recently proceeded to secure assessments outside of the multi-state consortia and this effort will allow South Carolina to also consider other assessments that best meet the needs of our state.
There are proposals in the legislature that prevent South Carolina from administering the Smarter Balanced assessment and continuing as a Smarter Balanced Governing or Advisory State. Withdrawing from the consortium now, rather than awaiting possible legislative action, will allow the SCDE to begin the process to secure assessments for grade 3-8 and high school (ELA and Math) for the 2014-15 school year.
The most immediate impact of the decision to withdraw from the consortium will be the participation of select South Carolina schools in the Smarter Balanced field test. Districts are therefore allowed to suspend the Smarter Balanced field testing currently underway in select South Carolina schools in anticipation of South Carolina’s withdrawal from the consortium.
Withdrawing from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium generates a multitude of questions, which will be answered as soon as possible. The purpose of this correspondence is to inform districts of the plan to consider other assessments for 2014-15.