House Democrats are calling on the state to stop requiring high school juniors to take the controversial Smarter Balanced Assessment alongside the SAT and other exams.
Ten legislators wrote a letter to Gov. Jack Markell last week, saying the SAT should be eleventh grade's accountability exam, not Smarter Balanced.
Rep. Debra Heffernan (D-North Wilmington) was among those who signed that letter. She says too few juniors took Smarter Balanced last year -- fewer than the 95 percent target at some schools.
Heffernan says that's due in part to parent and student concerns over the test's length and content. But she says it's also because of the other college entrance exams, such as the SAT, ACT and AP tests, that juniors have to juggle.
"They have a big testing burden already," Heffernan says. "And it would be a way to reduce their testing burden, but also to give us good data to be able to have educational accountability."
Plus, she says the SAT is already required and aligned with Common Core standards, and takes half the time of Smarter Balanced.
"So these are all things that are important to us as legislators, and we're hoping this does set the tone to make a smart move," and to examine others like it in the upcoming legislative session, Heffernan says.
The session begins next Tuesday, as the state continues inventorying its current testing load and analyzes the value of Smarter Balanced.