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U.S. Dept. Of Education Grants Conn. SBAC Wavier

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The U.S. Department of Education has signed off on Connecticut's plan to relieve thousands of high school juniors from having to take an unpopular standardized test.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday that federal authorities have approved the waiver his office submitted seeking to replace the 11th grade Smarter Balance Assessment, or SBAC, exam. 11th grade students will now take the SAT instead of the SBAC exam.

The change will take effect in the 2015-2016 school year.

The General Assembly recently passed legislation that would swap the tests. Lawmakers said they heard complaints from students, parents and teachers about the large amount of standardized testing being conducted in the state, especially among 11th grade students.

About 83 percent of Connecticut 11th-graders took the SAT last year. The SAT costs about $50 per student. Malloy says this year, the state will pay testing costs for all students in Connecticut.

“That will help level the playing field for those who might otherwise be precluded from taking the college entrance exam tests because of prohibitive costs,” Malloy said.

He said the U.S. Department of Education approved the change for the next three school years. Connecticut is one of seven states that got the go-ahead on Thursday to deviate from some provisions of the federal law known as No Child Left Behind.

In the last legislative session, Connecticut lawmakers heard complaints from students, parents and teachers about the large amount of standardized testing being conducted in the state, especially among 11th grade students.

Malloy's office said it sought federal approval for the swap last fall to mitigate over-testing.

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Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.