Monday, April 7, 2014

What is in the Smarter Balanced Pilot Test?

Read Part I:
Smarter Balanced Test: Try It Out Before Your Kids Take It

Read Part II:
Smarter Balanced Comes to Ann Arbor a Year Early. Why?

And here is Part III.

What is in the Smarter Balanced Pilot Test and How Will It Be Given?

The Smarter Balanced Test is a non-timed test (although there is a certain amount of time that they expect the test to take. It is given on a computer. The testing can be split up over several days. The test itself includes a variety of types of questions, including questions that are "drag and drop" (you drag objects into a location and "drop" them there); "click stick" (also known as click-stick-click-drop, and it requires less fine motor skills); multiple choice; and short answer questions. All of the answers, including the short answers, are graded by a computer. Smarter Balanced calls the computer program that delivers the test the "test delivery system." I'm not sure why I find that so humorous, but I do.

There are two parts to the Smarter Balanced Test. There is a "non-performance task" section--estimated to be two hours long for the English Language Arts section, and two hours long for the Math section. And there is a "performance task" section, which involves a half-hour classroom activity that is supposed to provide a "baseline" for a theme, and related to that there is an ELA section (estimated at two hours long) and a Math section (estimated at an hour and a half).

The idea of the performance-based task is that it allows testing of critical thinking and problem solving. The example I was given was that if you had a class task about teen driving restrictions, that there would be baseline information shared about those, and students would then be able to incorporate that information into their activities.

The classroom task itself is considered "non-secured," but at the same time, "Students may take notes during this time, but the notes must be collected before proceeding to the PT. Students may not use notes taken during the classroom activity for the PT." (Source.) Also, if students are absent the teachers are supposed to try to give the students who missed a similar experience.

The pilot tests are not "adaptive," they are "fixed." (In other words, they are the same for every student. Supposedly, the actual test will be made adaptive next year.)

Read lots more about the Smarter Balanced test here:

Classroom Task and Performance Task Administration Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions for Spring 2014 Field Test

Here are the goals of the Smarter Balanced test, as taken from the Smarter Balanced Assessment web site:

  • Accurately describe both student achievement and growth of student learning as part of program evaluation and school, district, and state accountability systems; 
  • Provide valid, reliable, and fair measures of students’ progress toward, and attainment of the knowledge and skills required to be college- and career-ready; and 
  • Capitalize on the strengths of computer adaptive testing—efficient and precise measurement across the full range of achievement and quick turnaround of results. (emphases added)

Just a comment about that "valid, reliable, and fair measures" piece. In case it's not obvious, if you don't read well, you are not going to do well on the math test, even if you are a math whiz.

As for "efficient and precise measurement," given that computers will be assessing students' writing, I'm not sure how precise it will be, although it certainly will be efficient!

But enough about the test.
I'm more interested in the testing.

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1 comment:

  1. One of the most confusing parts for students will be that there are multiple correct answers. It isn't like 'old' multiple choice where you pick one response, say 'd'. Any number of the responses might be correct like a, c and d or maybe just b and c. I found it to be confusing. Good luck kids. And why do we do this.... can someone remind me?