Common Core testing expands to more states

January 30, 2015 6:00 pm
Published by

The Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) is a new standardized assessment created last year which covers mathematics, reading and writing. This test is taken by students in grades 3 to 8, as well as grade 11. It is intended to be administered completely by computer and consists of multiple-choice questions, two-part problems, open-ended questions and a “brief write”. There are also listening and research-skill components (source). For students who cannot take it online, there is a written version available to districts who request it; they will be charged a fee per student.

In its computer-based form, the SBA is considered a “computer adaptive test”, meaning it adjusts question difficulty based on how a student answered previous questions. Scores in turn are evaluated on question difficulty rather than answer accuracy. The test is not timed, so the student can pause and resume it over days. However, they cannot access previously-answered questions on a later day.

The SBA is a part of the initiative for more rigorous standards (Common Core State Standards). Test-makers are expecting a lower “proficient” rate for the new tests. The results from 2014 results showed only a third of students were considered proficient in math. Joe Willhoft, a former Washington state testing director, anticipates that the scores will improve over time.

The test is currently taken in 21 states, and the Common Core has been adopted by 43 states. In Washington, for example, students will be taking the test in the upcoming spring, incorporating the test as a part of graduation requirements. It replaces the Measurements of Student Progress, and in addition, the state intends on phasing out High School Proficiency Exams.

Districts were not allowed to say no to the implementation, but states were able to opt in for a trial period (source). Any child is not required by law to participate in any standardized test, but a low participation rate can result in great consequences for the state.

Tags: , , , ,

Categorised in:

This post was written by Bernice Go