UPDATE (6/8/17): On Thursday, the Alabama State Board of Education (SBOE) discussed the future of ACT Aspire. Alabama’s contract with ACT is up for renewal later this year, and the SBOE must notify ACT by July 1st if it wants to cancel the contract.
During Thursday’s SBOE work session, State superintendent Michael Sentance reported that the U.S. Dept. of Education rejected the Alabama Dept. of Education’s waiver request – which would have freed Alabama from the annual testing requirement for one year – leaving the question still out there on what summative assessment will be given during the 2017-18 school year. SBOE members differ on their opinions of the ACT Aspire test, so they concluded during Thursday’s meeting that more discussion is needed. The SBOE will make a decision later this month.
The next meeting of the SBOE is a special-called meeting June 21st.
For the last four years, Alabama students in 3rd-8th grades have taken the ACT Aspire in reading and math. The State Board of Education moved to the ACT Aspire during the 2013-14 school year to align with the more rigorous College and Career Ready Standards for math and English language arts adopted in 2010. Since adopting the ACT Aspire, students’ performance on Alabama’s state assessments has tracked much closer to the National Assessment of Education Progress than it did under the old Alabama Reading and Math Test.
Last February, the U.S. Department of Education asked Alabama for further documentation to prove the ACT Aspire’s alignment to Alabama’s standards.
Since then, the board has discussed the ACT Aspire at several board meetings and work sessions. Several board members have indicated they would rather change to a new test due to low scores on the ACT Aspire and questions from the USDOE about its alignment.
ALL SBOE meetings are usually live-streamed for the public on the Alabama State Department of Education website.