Asked about testing and the Idaho Standards Achievement Test, Olson said of Idaho educators, “They know like I know that ISAT is a low-bar assessment.” Among the standards Idaho’s students should be tested for, he said, is “post-secondary readiness, and we’re lying to our children when we tell them the ISAT will get them there.”
Luna said the percentage of Idaho schools making “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind Act, measured by the ISAT, has risen sharply. “Idaho has been a national leader in the increase of the number of our schools meeting these academic goals,” he said. “Mr. Olson will try to tell you this is an easy thing to do.” He added, “I believe that every child can learn and every school can be successful - my opponent apparently does not.”
Olson said the state is using “sealing wax, smoke and mirrors” to boost those percentages. “Our focus again needs to be on assessment that matters and that makes a difference, and that helps children establish where they are and where they need to go, and helps teachers.” He said some of the state’s top schools didn’t make AYP, and called it “nonsense.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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