Budget may keep new test out of Michigan schools

Depending on the budget that lawmakers pass at the end of May, the Smarter Balanced Assessment may not end up in Michigan schools.

A new nation-wide test could soon be in the classroom in Michigan.

It's called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, but as of right now its future in the state is unclear.

The plan right now is for the assessment to replace the MEAP test, but depending on the budget that lawmakers pass at the end of this month it may not end up in Michigan schools.

The assessment is being field tested in northern Michigan school districts, including Kingsley Area Schools and Traverse City Area Public Schools.

The assessment measures the Common Core Curriculum.

Right now it's unclear whether it will be in Michigan schools as some lawmakers are unsure whether it should be included in the state's budget.

â??We're at a point that the decision has to be made so we can move forward. It's not fair to the kids and teachers to not know what we're taking,â?? said Keith Smith, Kingsley Area Schools Superintendent.

Smith says the test that's more rigorous in math is already being used in New York state.

â??They experienced a significant decline in their student test scores, so regardless of whatever happens I think people have to be prepared for the political fallout of the transition.â??

Before any final decisions are made teachers are looking at what they can expect with the new test.

â??Instead of the MEAP test where they've had to show what they've learned in order to calculate, in order to solve problems, this test goes one step further not only do they have to know how to do the problem but then they have to apply that to the real world situation that they're given,â?? said Donna Eberle, Elk Rapids math teacher.

The real world is what Eberle is thinking about for her students, even though the questions may be more difficult.

â??All of our business employers, all the people in the world that are counting on us having a well educated workforce, they're going to be very happy that this is much more rigorous because it is up to us to make sure that those kids are ready for the jobs that are coming toward them, and this test will help us know that they're ready.â??

Governor Rick Snyder is backing the Smarter Balanced Assessment and a group of northern Michigan school superintendents have sent their support to Lansing.

Third through eight grade students are expected to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment in reading and math next spring. Students will take the MEAP test in science and social studies.