Senate committee nixes ISAT as graduation requirement

The Senate Education Committee began the rulemaking process Tuesday afternoon, tweaking a couple of high school graduation requirements.

The committee rescinded language that would require students to pass the Idaho Standards Achievement Test.

That language isn’t new. Idaho’s class of 2017 isn’t required to pass the ISAT either. The rule would keep this language on the books for the class of 2018, and beyond.

High school students will still take the ISAT — in part because federal law requires it. And the test will still be used as an accountability measure to assess high schools.

The ISAT rule passed unanimously, but not without some brief discussion.

Committee chairman Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, said he was somewhat uneasy that the state will have no exit exam. He suggested that the state might want to find some other yardstick to serve as an exit exam.

Minutes later, the committee also tweaked a new graduation requirement in civics. Beginning with the class of 2017, high school students must demonstrate proficiency in civics — perhaps by passing the U.S. citizenship exam. Under a State Board of Education rule, districts would be allowed to come up with an alternative measure to test students on civics.

The arcane rulemaking process tends to dominate the opening weeks of the session. Technically, an education rule can go into effect, and have the force of law, with the approval of the Senate or House education committee. However, rules generally go through both education committees.

The 2017 docket of rules includes a second attempt at revising Idaho’s science standards. Lawmakers rejected the standards a year ago.


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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