Gov. Walker Signs “Data Delay” Bill Into Law

Gov. Scott Walker has signed a Republican-authored bill (Senate Bill 67) that ensures student scores on the statewide “Badger Exam” all publicly-funded students in grades 3 through 8 are taking this spring won’t be used in evaluating teachers or put on report cards measuring school performance.

The roll-out of the Badger Exam–which was known as the SmarterBalanced Assessment before it was renamed by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)– is aligned with the Common Core academic standards.  The test was beset by implementation problems and higher than anticipated costs. generating widespread criticism from parents, school districts, state policymakers and the governor.

These problems, coupled with the fact that the governor’s 2015-17 proposed budget would prohibit the State Superintendent from adopting the Smarter Balanced assessment, beginning in the 2015-16 school year, prompted the legislative action to curb the use of the test.

The bill Gov. Walker signed into law today as 2015 Wisconsin Act 20 will result in there being no school report cards in the fall; however, test results will still be reported to the state DPI to comply with federal law, and will be available on the DPI website. A WASB New Laws bulletin further describing Act 20 will be posted soon. (Please see the WASB New Laws List webpage for information on all new state laws affecting K-12 education.)

Authored by a pair of former school board members, state Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) and state Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), Senate Bill 67 passed the Senate on a voice vote and was concurred upon by the Assembly on a voice vote.