April 23, 2015
Contact: Rep. Steineke: 608-266-2418

Assembly Republicans Tackle Failed Smarter Balance System

Support bill clarifying data won’t be used for school report cards

Madison – Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) held a press conference today along with Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Representatives Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) to discuss legislative efforts to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding the failed Smarter Balanced Assessment, and to clarify that parents can opt their children out of the Badger Exam.

“The roll-out of the Badger Exam has been a disaster,” said Rep. Steineke. “Educators, administrators and kids throughout the state have been subjected to uncertainty, delays, and even changes to the test. What's worse is that our taxpayers are being charged for a product that isn't close to what was promised.”

In 2010, Wisconsin enacted the Badger Exams as a result of joining the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of the two national consortia formed to establish assessments to measure students’ career and college readiness. The Badger Exam replaces the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams, the old system of standardized tests.

“Teachers can rest assured that this inferior test won’t be used as a basis for their evaluations, and parents should know that they have the right to opt their children out of the exams if they choose, regardless of their grade,” continued Rep. Steineke.

During the press conference, Rep. Kitchens discussed a bill he authored as a result of the failed Badger Exam roll out. Assembly Bill 78 prohibits the state Department of Public Instruction from issuing a school accountability report using test scores from this school year. It also would delay for one year a new evaluation method for teachers and principals that incorporate student test scores. The bill has been scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Education Committee on Thursday, May 7 at 10 am. The full Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bill in May. The Senate has already passed the bill.

“Moving forward, the Legislature will be making every effort to keep DPI from spending any additional money on this failed system, while working to recoup the money we have spent,” Rep. Steineke said. “I would like to thank my colleagues for their work in protecting taxpayers from funding a flawed standardized testing system as well as bringing clarity to the opt-out process.”