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Idaho cancels statewide tests for 2010-11 school year

The state superintendent of public instruction has canceled two statewide tests for the upcoming school year.

Tom Luna said Tuesday the Direct Writing Assessment and the Direct Math Assessment will not be administered during the 2010-11 school year. Not administering and scoring the exams will save the Department of Education about $250,000, the Post Register reported.

These tests are not the state’s standardized test – Idaho Standards Achievement Test – nor are they federally required. The writing and math assessments are two of several performance-based tests that are state required.

Idaho Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa McGrath says cost savings played a part in the decision, but the need for better assessments is also important. “As we move forward, we are wondering do we still need these and are these still valuable.”

McGrath says education officials are looking for tests that “give districts better data sooner.”

Luna plans to ask members of the Idaho State Board of Education to permanently cancel the exams at the board’s June meeting.