Tag Archives: ISAT

Proposal Eliminates IRI From Teacher Evaluations

The IRI, or Idaho Reading Indicator, will be removed from the state’s list of acceptable measures to use when determining if a teacher is producing measurable student achievement increases.

Rep. Julie VanOrden (R-Pingree)

Rep. Julie VanOrden’s proposal acknowledges that the IRI is “a reading skills screener,” and not a measure of student growth in achievement. As such, it’s use in future teacher evaluations would be prohibited if her bill is successful.

The IRI is given to K-3 students in the fall and spring of each academic year. Depending on the grade, it assesses letter name fluency, letter sound fluency, and Oral Reading Passage Fluency.

The IRI also sets target values for fall and spring each year. Obviously, a teacher serving difficult populations of students might not reach the target value even though they generated substantial growth during the academic year.

Thus the concern with a school or district which chooses to use the IRI as a student achievement indicator as part of a teacher’s evaluation.

Such a move, nearly by definition, guarantees low marks for teachers serving English Language Learners, special education, and free/reduced lunch students who are statistically less likely to reach set target proficiency values.

Which is why VanOrden wants to eliminate the use of the measure in teacher evaluations. The bill leaves intact over a dozen other measures that can be used instead.

It is interesting, however, that this logic was not extended to the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) which continues to be on the list of approved measures in the bill.

Like the IRI, the ISAT measures set proficiency targets, not student growth. For all the same reasons as the IRI, the use of such a measure in a teacher’s evaluation blindly punishes teachers working with difficult populations of students who, again, are statistically unlikely to reach set proficiency target values.

Perhaps, VanOrden’s philosophy here is one of baby steps. Depending on the action this bill sees might be indicative of a future effort to also remove the ISAT from the list for all the same reasons.


Tiered Licensure: One Stop Shop for What You Need to Know

Slide1Idaho has proposed a Tiered Licensure rule that potentially ties a teacher’s license to student test scores and local evaluations. To bribe teachers to accept this bad idea, an ‘increased’ teacher salary would also be tied to these evaluations. Tiered licensure is bad for kids, taxpayers, and teachers.


Below is a quick synopsis of reasons why this is poor legislation, along with resources to better educate yourself and distribute to others.

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ISDE Chief of Staff–Luci Willits–Response to Rebranding SBAC as “ISAT 2.0”

luci-willitsRecently Idaho State Department Chief of Staff, Luci Willits, announced in an interview with Idaho Ed News that the state is renaming the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s (SBAC’s) exam as “Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) 2.0”

I wrote Ms. Willits over this issue as I felt the name was inappropriate and misleading.  In my letter I evaluated why I feel the rebranding is a poor decision; namely that the new name conveys that the exam is assessing the old Idaho Content Standards, not the new Common Core Standards, and that the new name perhaps conveys that Idaho has left the Consortium, which isn’t true.

Ms. Willits was kind enough to provide a timely reply to my email today.  Her response, in full, is posted below.   Continue reading

ISDE: Why the Lost Love Over SBAC?

ISATRecently Idaho State Department of Education Chief of staff, Luci Willits, declared in an interview with Idaho Ed News that the state is rebranding the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) as the “ISAT 2.0.”

I have a problem with this name-change for a variety of reasons.  I sent a letter laying out my concern about the name change to Ms. Willits.  My letter, in full, is below. Continue reading

Are You In on Opting Out?

Levi B CavenerThe new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has been taking a lot of heat during the legislative session recently.  District superintendents recently met with the State Department of Ed to push back against the test, and even a State Senator has been vocal about his opposition to the assessment.

Idahoans for Local Education recently launched an Opt Out movement for SBAC and ISAT in Idaho.  Stephanie Zimmerman, point person on the project, listed the rationale for taking such an action including: Continue reading

The High Stakes of Overtesting.

By Levi B Cavener

Levi B CavenerThe semester is drawing to a close for many secondary schools, including my own, across the state during the next few weeks. With this closing comes the ritualistic ceremony of the dreaded end of course exam.

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