15 Feb

History of the SBAC and How it Rose to a Nationwide Movement

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was created in 2010 with the aim of producing a universal assessment system to help students be well prepared for college and careers. The creation of the tests aimed to produce a vigorous assessment of the new, challenging common core state standards (CCSS) and help educators and school districts align teaching to these new standards. The SBAC originally consisted of a consortium of 30 states that submitted a proposal for a $178m federal grant to develop a new, groundbreaking series of tests for students. In 2014 the federal grant came to an end and the SBAC was transferred to UCLA and became a public agency.

 

The SBAC is funded by the memberships of the 16 states, that currently offer the tests, and all tests have been available for students to take since April 2015. Testing costs around $28 per student for the full package of resources and although it can cost states a significant amount of money to introduce, the resources that are included can actually end up saving money and time for educators. Around 220 colleges nationwide accept the high school summative SBAC tests as evidence for college readiness for credit level courses.

 

The progressive tests were created using a dynamic process of field-testing and in Spring 2014, 4.2 million students took the first field tests which facilitated the evaluation of over 19,000 assessment items. This allowed for the first set of achievement standards to be set, which were a starting point for discussion about achievement standards across the states that took part and as a baseline measure for the future.

 

The SBAC is designed to be a valid and reliable approach to student assessment, providing actionable data to provide interventions to help students succeed. For states offering the tests, the SBAC provides three components developed by nearly 5000 teachers nationwide:

 

  • Formative and practice assessments with a digital library of resources for students and educators.
  • Interim assessments
  • Summative assessments towards college and career readiness in English, Language Arts and Math

 

The SBAC summative tests are available for students in grade 3-8th and high school and are all administered via an interactive online platform. The tests take between 2.5 – 4 hours for each component and are either marked digitally or by qualified professional scorers. The marks for each assessment are available in 2-3 weeks for parents, educators and students. Each student receives a result of 1,2,3 or 4 on each test with 1 representing a student who is minimally qualified and 4 a student who is thoroughly qualified.

 

The movement towards rigorous and valid assessment helps both states and the nation ensure that students are leaving high school with a diploma that prepares them for adult life. The SBAC provides a way to ensure that every student succeeds and every school district is accountable for that because of the tests.

 

13 Mar

Testing Standards in Delaware

If you are a parent with kids in the state of Delaware, you may be wondering exactly how Common Core State Standards has changed education within your state? Even if your child’s school district has not adopted Common Core, they are sure to be a few changes since the standards have been introduced to the nation.

New Standardized Testing Standards

Even if your school has not adopted Common Core, the new testing standards apply to all students in all schools within the state of Delaware. This means that many teachers will spend more time focusing on that the areas that are now of greater importance when it comes to tests, otherwise the schools rate of success for standardized testing may begin to decline.

Increased Use Of Electronics

Electronic communication, and turning to electronics to conduct work is truly the future of education. Common Core is designed to have an increased level of in-school and at-home assignments, all schools must increase electronics use in order to remain competitive. For this reason, many students purchase educational headphones for classroom work—to keep the combined noise from all students audio from getting too noisy. Many students even have a second pair or educational headphones at home too.

Changes In Curriculum

Since standardized testing is now designed to measure the success of the Common Core curriculum, teachers are likely to make some adjustments to their curriculum to ensure students are best prepared for success.

The changes above will continue to evolve, and are all are result of Common Core.