Nebraska System to Remain Largely Unchanged

K-12 Testing

FairTest Examiner - July 2007

Nebraska's legislature and governor have approved creation of a statewide test in reading and math. However, that test will not replace the state's locally-based system of assessments, which have been strongly supported by assessment reformers and other educators (see Examiner, April 2007). State Education Commissioner Doug Christensen affirmed that the system of local assessments will continue to be the basis of evaluating Nebraska's schools for state and federal purposes.

Nebraska approved a statewide test in the 1990's, but never funded it. The state then developed its School-based Teacher-led Assessment and Reporting System (STARS). In this system, districts devise assessments that must meet state criteria and pass review by independent experts. After a sharp battle, the U.S. Department of Education granted Nebraska's system "approval pending," which is the status now given most states.

Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) officials said they hope the statewide assessments will be primarily performance-based. The state has a writing test administered in grades 4, 8 and 11.

For more information on Nebraska: 
o Examiner article, "Nebraska Points the Way Forward", April 2007.
o Phi Delta Kappan articles
o NDE website