The schools in Wisconsin are just about wrapping their new online testing exams for students called the Badger Exams, which have proven to be quite the struggle. The Badger Exam can be compared to the well-known Common Core standards in mathematics and English. The purpose of this online achievement exam was for Wisconsin to place themselves on a course that could be monitored through modern technology. In other words, the performance of each student could be observed and monitored online.
What has resulted from the new online testing exam in Wisconsin is absolutely nothing. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, has dropped the new testing exam in his state budget proposal. Just like the Common Core exams were debating and criticized, the dropping of the Badger Exam has now been going through its fair share of criticism, as well.
Wisconsin’s education system will be knee-deep in problems if law-makers fail to get rid of that provision. Educators will be having to start from the very beginning, back at square one with their students, in order to replace the Badger Exam in time for the students entering in for the upcoming school year.
To educator’s surprise, the process had already begun two weeks ago. The state issued a request for Badger Exam replacement proposals, due to Wisconsin’s struggle deciding on whether it stays or goes. Wisconsin realizes that if the process does not begin now and the governor’s state budget proposal is passed, that would leave schools with no Badger Exam replacement for the new school year. The process of law-makers attempting to hold on to the Badger Exam for another year or even more would be a complete waste.
What this means for the students of Wisconsin is, they will be taking a completely different state test for the third time. Not to mention, that the new test they end up taking has a greater chance of not being calibrated according to the nation’s math and English standards, or the standards that the state had adopted back in 2010.
A Senate committee hearing was set up in order for questions regarding K through 12 testing to be answered. Voices that represented both publicly funded private schools as well as public schools in Wisconsin shared their beliefs that testing should be minimized without minimizing assessments that can provide information on student achievement progressions made from the start of the school year all the way up until the very last day.
According to vice president of government affairs for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Steve Bass, schools are in need of a reliable tool that can offer consistent year to year comparisons of the students educational progression. Jumping from one test to the next every year is not providing any information that could be deemed useful. The scores are just scores that hold no meaning without another set of scores from the same test that can be used for the sake of comparison.
Before the Badger Exam, Wisconsin had the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination. This exam was disliked by almost everyone, due to its outdated curriculum as well as its need to be given to students at the very start of the school year, rather than the end.
The Badger Exam is testing that is done on computers, which is supposed to adjust its level of variable questions according to the children’s level of skill displayed. That testing feature was not available during the first year of use, due to developing running into cost overruns.When it comes to Wisconsin struggling with the decision on whether or not the Badger Exam should stay or should go, retired McGraw-Hill executive, Doug McRae, said that the best way to answer that question is to check out student results on tests taken throughout the year that consist of all the common core standards.
By Kameron Hadley