New Department of Education assessment begins this month

The Alabama State Department of Education has announced a new measure of student assessment -“ACT Aspire” – which will begin on April 28. As part of PLAN 2020, the State Board of Education adopted ACT Aspire to test student progress of Grades 3-8 and will make Alabama the first to implement this program.

The new assessment system consists of ACT Aspire (Grades 3-8), ACT Explore (Grade 8), ACT Plan (Grade 10), ACT Quality Core (English 10 and Algebra I), ACT plus Writing (Grade 11, now offered to all 11th graders free of charge), and ACT WorkKeys (Grade 12, starting Spring 2015).

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice said, “The level of detail and information available from the full suite of ACT assessments will allow educators, parents and students to use the data to better inform instruction and prepare students for college and career readiness.”

According to an article in the Montgomery Advertiser, every junior or senior student will be given the ACT at no cost and these assessments will become the baseline that is used exclusively to redefine instruction in the classroom. ACT Aspire will also reduce the yearly testing time from five days down to two hours.

“Like never before, teachers will be able to measure students’ mastery of the standards taught, plan intervention and acceleration, and create individualized instruction for students,” said Deputy State Superintendent of Education Sherrill Parris. “Parents, students, and teachers will know by the end of third grade whether each student is on track to be successful upon graduation from high school. This is crucial in terms of individualized instruction, intervention planning, guidance for course selection, career counseling, and college advising.”

Leah Garner — BCA Director of Governmental Affairs and Advocacy