- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Alaska education officials have hired a new group to create English language arts and math assessments.

The state announced it is leaving Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and has hired Assessment and Achievement Institute, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://is.gd/zAEDLc) Wednesday.

Alaska has been a member of the consortium since April, but decided to go with a company that will tailor assessments based on new state standards, which vary from Common Core Standards used by the consortium.

“What we were looking at was that we would find a vendor who could build an assessment strictly on our standards and that would include our educators,” Erik McCormick, director of assessment with the state Department of Education and Early Development, said.

Alaska sought proposals from vendors, and chose Assessment and Achievement Institute, an organization with the University of Kansas.

The five-year contract will cost Alaska about $5 million annually.

Online practice tests will be available to school districts stateside this fall, McCormick said, with summative tests likely to begin in the spring of 2015.

The state has previously worked with another University of Kansas group, DLM Consortium, creating a new alternate assessment for students with severe cognitive disabilities.

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