Thayn opposes Common Core assessment

Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett

The school superintendents opposing a time-consuming test aligned to Common Core standards have an unlikely ally: Sen. Steven Thayn.

The Emmett Republican tells Idaho Education News that he has spoken to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests, which the state plans to pilot this spring. Several Treasure Valley superintendents — representing schools with a combined enrollment of more than 106,000 — want the state to put the SBAC assessment on hold. They want the state to use a shorter, multiple-choice test to measure third- through eighth-grade performance, and use the Scholastic Aptitude Test to gauge 11th-graders’ performance.

“I support the (superintendents’) recommendations as far as they can be implemented,” Thayn said in an email. “I am opposed to the length of the test and suggested an alternative that would cut down on test time.”

The SBAC assessment is expected to take roughly eight hours — and superintendents such as Boise’s Don Coberly think the test might take even more time to complete.

It’s worth noting that the superintendents and Thayn part ways on the Idaho Core Standards themselves. The superintendents strongly support the new math and English language arts assessments. Thayn opposes the standards — even though he was a member of the House Education Committee that endorsed these standards in 2011.

Luna will meet Friday morning with superintendents to discuss their concerns with the SBAC assessment. Check back here for coverage. In the meantime, here’s my story taking a closer look at the issue, and my blog post on the underlying power struggle.


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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