BISMARCK – A task force on student assessments that met for the first time last week will explore ways to reduce the number of tests given in North Dakota classrooms while still providing needed information about students’ academic progress, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said Monday.

Under state and federal law, the North Dakota State Assessment in English, math and science must be given once during grades 9-12. State law also requires 11th graders to take the ACT college entrance exam.

Baesler said in a news release Monday that she supports reducing the number of assessments students are taking. Two possible options would be to move the state assessment out of the 11th grade or allow the ACT test to count as the statewide assessment for high school juniors, she said.

The 33-member task force, which includes parents, teachers and administrators from public and nonpublic schools, assessment and technology experts, homeschoolers, legislators, business people and higher education officials, will look into the issue, the release stated.

The group will meet next in October.