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When the Iowa Legislature’s education appropriations subcommittee drafted the education appropriations bill it left Smarter Balanced Assessments, a Common Core-aligned computer adaptive assessment, as an unfunded mandate replacing the Iowa Assessments. The joint administrative rules committee back in December voted unanimously for a session delay that would require the Iowa State of Education’s rule mandating Smarter Balanced to be pushed back to the 2016-2017 school year unless the legislature acted during the session. Smarter Balanced Assessments will be delayed either further based on action taken by the legislature.

SF 2323, the education appropriations bill, was amended in the Iowa Senate through an amendment offered by State Senator Brian Schoenjahn (D-Arlington) that delays Smarter Balanced until July 1, 2017. That amendment passed unanimously. The entire appropriations bill cleared the Iowa Senate on Tuesday on a 27 to 23 vote.

Yesterday in the Iowa House, State Representative Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa) offered an amendment that would have nullified the State Board of Education rule mandating Smarter Balanced Assessments as the assessments that public and state accredited non-public schools would have to administer. Vander Linden amended his original amendment to suspend the rule until July 1, 2017 and for it to be reviewed again by the administrative rules committee when they meet in December 2016. This was adopted and his original amendment, as amended, was adopted.

The Iowa House voted 52 to 41 in favor of the bill.

In effect they move the decision to a non-election year and both the House and Senate versions include a delay of Smarter Balanced whether that is a simple delay or a rule suspension will remain to be seen and then will be dependent on Governor Terry Branstad’s signing the bill into law.

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