Bills to Replace 11th Grade SBAC Exam & Address Dyslexia

May 28, 2015

I joined legislative leaders to announce a bipartisan plan to unburden high school juniors from controversial standardized testing.

The proposal would end the requirement that 11th-grade students participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing. Instead, students would be able to take a nationally recognized college readiness exam.

What is happening is a critical step forward for High School Juniors. Where federal requirements have created a bottleneck of testing for juniors, we are proposing replacing the SBAC with a new state-sponsored, nationally accredited college placement test that aligns with the common core standards.

Legislators have heard objections to SBAC testing from principals, teachers, parents and students on the onerous testing burden placed on high school juniors who often take the SAT, Advanced Placement Exams, and class finals all within a month.

Legislators noted the advantages of providing a state sponsored entrance exam that helps remove that financial burden on parents and further opens the door to college for every student in their junior year. Currently, 13 Connecticut school districts provide the SAT to students for free.

Another important bill approved by the General Assembly last night makes several changes to state education law regarding dyslexia and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Once the bill is signed and goes into effect, it will require the State Department of Education (SDE) to designate an employee to help parents and boards of education concerning the detection and intervention on behalf of students with Dyslexia. In addition, the bill enhances teacher preparation programs and adds in-service training on dyslexia awareness.

Furthermore, the bill sets January 1, 2016, as the deadline for SDE to develop or approve reading assessments to help identify students at risk for dyslexia.

Not identifying dyslexia early or properly teaching a child to read ill serves our children and our society. There is a high risk to students for developing additional problems and frustration with learning that can lead to dropping out of school and various negative consequences that follow