Baesler: Task forces working on Every Child Succeeds Act, content standards

Sep 16, 2016

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler testifies before the Legislature's Interim Education Committee in Bismarck.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The new “Every Student Succeeds Act” – the law that replaced “No Child Left Behind” – takes effect in July, 2017.

And North Dakota is now working on its plan to meet the requirements of that new education law.

"ESSA provides us a golden opportunity to find the right mix of measures to show the true quality of our schools," state school superintendent Kirsten Baesler told the Legislature's interim Education Committee.

Baesler said the new law puts education back in the hands of the states. And she told the Committee the new plan isn’t all about the “test.”

"Our accountability plan will point to multiple measure points of data that will not be confined to just test scores," Baesler said.

Baesler saids work groups are now putting that plan together. And she says she wants to submit it to the federal Department of Education by next March.

Baesler also said a task force to write new student assessment standards for math and English has finished its first draft of recommendations.

Baesler told the Committee the task force is now looking for public comment on those standards. She said after that, the task force will meet again, make changes, and ask for another round of public comment. And Baesler said the third draft will likely be the final one.

"We expect the adoption of our revised and newly updated math and English language arts standards to be completed in March, 2017," Baesler said. "Teachers will begin implementing those standards in their classrooms in the fall of 2017."

Baesler said once the standards are finalized, DPI will send out a “request for proposals” to test-writing firms. She said it will be a “hybrid” test – that will incorporate North Dakota standards with some national and regional questions.

"You have to choose a test that is aligned to your standards," Baesler said. "You can't align your standards to a test."

Baesler said the new tests will likely be a little more expensive than the current tests, because of the “hybrid” requirement.