Wisconsin legislators to consider changing Badger Exam

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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin public school students are taking a new test intended to measure learning this year, but the exam's future is unclear because some state lawmakers say they would like something different.

That leaves some schools and teachers wondering why they worked hard to prepare for the Badger Exam, which is taken on computers and replaces the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts exam. Districts across the state spent months preparing for the new tests by ensuring computer labs and students in grades three through eight were ready.

"I am very proud of the work we have all done to prepare for the Badger Exam this year as a district," said Kim Ziembo, director of instruction at the Marshfield School District.

But some legislators say they want a new test because of problems with rollout. The testing was delayed last month after a writing portion of the language arts section was deleted and a key interactive feature was dropped because it didn't work properly, News-Herald Media (http://mnhne.ws/1PBVy1v ) reported.

Technology staff quickly addressed minor issues that popped up at many schools during testing, according to school officials. The test is widely preferred by school officials and teachers as a replacement to the traditional pencil-and-paper exam previously administered each fall.

Supporters of the Badger Exam are concerned that politicians will work to ensure the test isn't used as it was intended and will introduce a new exam and format.

"We're not even sure how this test is going to be used," said Kathi Stebbins-Hintz, director of instruction at the Wisconsin Rapids School district.

The exams are meant to assess the performance of students, teachers and schools. However, legislators are considering a bill that would only allow the Badger Exam to be used to gauge student performance.

The Assembly could vote on the bill Wednesday.


Information from: News-Herald Media, http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com

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