Who will take these computer-based assessments?
Students in grades 3-8 and 11 will use computers and/or chromebooks to take the state assessments in English-language arts and mathematics.
When will Donlon students be taking the SBAC tests?
Students at Donlon will be taking tests throughout the dates of April 13-May 15. Please check with your child's teacher for specific dates.
What is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) component on the online summative assessment?
The computer adaptive portion of the online test includes a wide variety of item types. As students progress throughout a CAT, the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment based on their responses. For example, a student who answers a question correctly will receive a more challenging item, while an incorrect answer generates an easier question.
What is a Performance Task (PT) component on the online summative assessment?
The PT is designed to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge and higher-order thinking skills to explore and analyze a complex, real-world scenario. Prior to the PT, teachers or instructional staff conduct a Classroom Activity for all students to ensure that a lack of understanding of the context of the task does not interfere with a student’s ability to address the content of the task.
What types of questions will be on the online summative assessment?
Computer testing with these types of response options are new for many students.
Test scores will be reported this spring
This is the first year that public schools are being held accountable for fully implementing the Common Core Standards in English-language arts and mathematics—and the first time that scores from tests aligned to those standards will be reported. Over the past few years, educators have been working to develop knowledge, skills, and new teaching repertories to support the standards.
Thinking will be measured in four domains
The new state assessment encourages thinking in four domains: 1) Recall and basic comprehension, 2) Application of concepts involving some mental processing, 3) Applications requiring more abstract thinking/reasoning and more complex inferences, and 4) Extended analysis that requires synthesis and analysis across multiple contexts and non-routine applications
Questions that require abstract thinking, synthesis, and analysis will comprise 50-60% of the new state assessments. This is a dramatic increase in rigor over past state assessments. In short, we are expecting students to think and process information differently than in the past.
Proficiency levels are set high
California has set high proficiency levels on the new state assessments. Joseph Willhoft, one of the test project directors, says that “because the new content standards set higher expectations for students and the new tests are designed to assess student performance against these higher expectations, the bar has been raised.”
Based on projections from the 2014 Smarter Balanced field tests conducted in California and 21 other states, it is likely that fewer students will score at the higher achievement levels on the new assessments, especially in the first few years. However, a drop in test scores doesn’t mean students are sliding backwards or learning less. Rather, it gives us a more accurate measure of where students are on the path to success based on expectations that are designed to prepare them to compete nationally and globally. Educators and parents should see the results as a new start.
Results can’t be compared to earlier state assessments
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) has replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) California Standards Test (CST) Program as the new state academic testing program.
Assessment experts urge discretion when comparing performance on the new assessments with past California Standards Tests because the new assessments are measuring different content and skills. Deborah V.H. Sigman, Rocklin Unified School District deputy superintendent and a member of the executive committee for the new assessments, defended the new higher standards when she said, “We have an opportunity to change what assessment means inside our classrooms, an opportunity to make it really be about improving teaching and learning.”
It is important to note that these scores cannot be compared to scores that your child previously received on the STAR Program tests because this test is based on the new Common Core State Standards, involves different types of test questions, and will not be reported using the STAR Program reporting categories.
You can also click on the following links or go to the websites to explore STAR CST Sample Test Questions compared to the new CAASPP SBAC items:
State assessments are just one measure
Parents, teachers, and schools will receive reports from the new tests in late spring, with student data reported in two significant ways. In order to comply with the federally required No Child Left Behind Act, California is required to provide both scale score results and achievement levels for students. These results should be looked at in context with other metrics—including local district assessments, report card grades, and portfolios of student work—to determine how well students are learning.
With the Common Core Standards for English-language arts and mathematics, learning activities are organized and sequenced from grade to grade to build understanding for students. Success with standards at each grade level ensures that students are ready for the next grade, ultimately leading to readiness for college and careers. Smarter Balanced assessments are one tool that schools can use to gauge student learning relative to the Common Core Standards.
Each question on the new assessments is focused on one or more claims related to a student’s understanding of English language arts or mathematics.
English Language Arts Claims
Performance Relative to the Claims
Reports for teachers and parents will contain information on student performance relative to each of the English language arts and mathematics claims. Student performance will be reported as:
—At or near standard
Overall Score Reports
In addition, the reports will provide an overall score for student progress in English Language Arts and mathematics. This overall score will indicate the student’s level of understanding in each content area.
—Level 1, Student demonstrates minimal understanding
—Level 2, Student demonstrates partial understanding
—Level 3, Student demonstrates adequate understanding
—Level 4, Student demonstrates thorough understanding
Test officials encourage examination of these metrics in combination with other student performance information such as progress reports, local curriculum-based measures, and portfolios. Tony Alpert, an official from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, says that “…instructional decisions should not be exclusively based on end-of-year Smarter Balanced Consortium tests.”