ISAT review — three questions in question

After two rounds of reviews — involving 33,655 possible test items — only three questions for a new statewide assessment have failed to make the cut.

A State Department of Education committee has made its final recommendations on the new Idaho Standards Achievement Test by Smarter Balanced, the state’s new exams, aligned to the new Common Core standards.

The verdict from the department’s Bias and Sensitivity Committee, and a report issued Tuesday: one 11th-grade English language arts question didn’t make the cut because it touched on a “localized sensitive or controversial subject.” The report didn’t elaborate.

The committee also raised similar questions about an audio clip for the same exam. Pulling the plug on the audio clip would mean dropping another two test questions.

The Bias and Sensitivity Committee doesn’t get the final word. The State Board of Education will decide next month whether to follow the committee’s recommendation.

The 2014 Legislature created the Bias and Sensitivity Committee, which eventually grew to 120 members. The committee met in December to review the questions. A smaller, 32-member committee met in January to take a closer look at 19 math and English language arts questions flagged by the larger panel.

Schools field-tested the Smarter Balanced exam in 2014. This spring, the test results will count for the first time.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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