An Early Look at Smarter Balanced Assessments

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium just released a practice test to give administrators, teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders an early look at a test that will be implemented in partner states in the 2014/2015 school year.

You can read up on it here to see the technology requirements.  You can go here to enter the practice portal.

3 thoughts on “An Early Look at Smarter Balanced Assessments

  1. Hi, Shane! An interesting development here in NC…I had reviewed the early released items and now took the practice test (Language Arts 6th grade) and wrote an email requesting our NC Superintendent to please be transparent as to the Consortium work and allow parents to understand why these tests are a benefit, what they will cost, and most alarmingly with what is academia’s multiple choice obsession to ask trick questions (‘most precise’, ‘best represents’) that are more confusing than they are rigourous – if these tests are meant to simply establish literacy and mathematics baselines and strengths and weaknesses.

    She took the time to respond and seemed to remain fairly neutral and objective on Smarter Balanced and stated she would like parents to learn more about the effort. She reminded me that ultimately, the NC legislature will decide if these tests are adopted or not, regardless of the Smarter Balanced MOU signed by states which in spirit commits the state to these. I was also corrected that although PARCC went with Pearson, SBAC didn’t.

    Dr. Atkinson said she would like to meet with me and welcomed to have me write/speak to her about SBAC.

    I think there is an understanding at our educational leadership level that people, parents, constituents form part of these discussions. I also don’t think they ever envisioned this kind of questioning and overall backlash towards what they may have started with good intentions, yet sold their souls by agreeing to the Race to the Top funds the states desperately needed and heeded by bowing to the almighty demands of Arne Duncan and the unprecedented discretion he was granted by Obama through Congress failure to act on NCLB and the then discretionary funding given to Arne Duncan through the stimulus act.

    The only way I see any kind of proper return of education to the capable hands of parents, students, teachers is to depoliticize the conversation. As long as we make education about republican, democrat, tea party, conservatism, progressivism, socialism – we will compromise the fate of education into the hands of politicians motivated less by what we have to say and know and more by who funds their electoral campaigns.

    I got a response from Dr. June Atkinson to open dialogue because the conversation was about a school leader to a parent – not a school leader to a ‘political movement X’ – I think it’s important we remember this is about our kids. That education is the foundation that our kids later along with life experiences use to select their own parties and ideologies – but for the sake of seeing change, it is something we need to discuss as people (parents, grandparents, students, teachers, etc.) and not as ‘bipartisans’ or ‘partisans’ or anything at all related to politics.

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