Lawmakers Hope to Scrap SBAC Test

Senate Democrats and Republicans announced a plan Thursday to do away with the controversial SBAC test for Connecticut High School Juniors. Instead, the State Department of Education will be tasked with replacing it with either the SAT or the ACT, one of the two major college readiness exams.

“I would call this a breakthrough moment. In fact it is the biggest moment in educational testing since the days of the Connecticut Mastery" said Sen. Toni Boucher, (R - Wilton), who serves as the Ranking Member on the Education Committee in the General Assembly.

Top Democrats Sen. Martin Looney and Sen. Bob Duff were on hand for the announcement that is slated to take effect for Spring 2016, the time students would normally take the SBAC.

"We're stressing our kids out" said Sen. Duff, (D - Norwalk).

Many parents already pay for their child to take either the ACT or the SAT. Under the proposal in the Connecticut Senate, the state would cover the entire cost of the exam, saving parents what they would have spent on the tests.

Supporters say it will open opportunities for students who may not have taken any college entrance exam otherwise.

“We’re opening the door for college to student who would not have otherwise access or the ability to take a college readiness exam" said Sen. Gayle Slossberg, (D - Milford). "We are relieving the stress of over testing on our eleventh graders.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy assembled a group of educators and others with a stake in standardized to come up with recommendations on how to move forward. Earlier this week, that group recommended scrapping the SBAC for High School Juniors.

A spokesman for the governor applauded the progress announced Thursday by the state Senate saying, "The Governor has been working for almost a year to be smart about testing -- from appointing a committee to study 11th grade over-testing to providing school districts grants to help them reduce the local test burden on students. It's always positive when we can be more efficient on exams, particularly with 11th grade students."

The Connecticut Education Association released a statement in support of the move as well, stating "We are pleased that this bill eliminates SBAC in high school—an initiative that indicates that the voice of CEA and others on the State Department of Education High School Assessment Working Group was respected."

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