Thursday, March 6, 2014

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

Now that the Common Core is, hopefully, well implemented into schools.  The common assessment is also up and running. Many schools have elected to participate in the field test for various reasons.

 I would suggest that schools work through a  practice test  and download the secure browser to ensure device compatibility. The practice test allows educators to become familiar with the interface as well as the content. It might also be a good idea to get a subset of students to experience a  practice test.

After taking a practice test, the interface has a few flaws that I noticed. For example, some questions are in a typical A-D multiple choice format where you can only select one answer, and some have check-boxes that allow you to select more than one option. As far as other flaws, I will leave to you to discover and provide feedback to Smarter Balanced prior to the official release of the exam.

As educators, we should do our homework to  prepare for these new assessments and help ensure student success. I'm not an advocate for standardized testing, but it's here, and we have to ensure that we prepare students to do well. While we  prepare students for these assessments, we have to be careful not to fall into the trap of "teaching to the tests." If we are truly aligning  the taught curriculum to the common core, students should do well on these assessments; assuming that students are motivated and held accountable for their performance. In the meantime, explore these assessments and ensure that the infrastructure is ready and that your students are ready.

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