Common Core: Mixed review of new computerized tests for students

Aug 21, 2014 by

For some, the prospect of the adoption of yet another new standardized test for Vermont students seems like just one more hoop schools need to jump through to satisfy the federal government.

First there were the NSREs, then the NECAPs, the NEAP and now the SBAC. (Translation: New Standards Reference Exam, the New England Common Assessment Program, the National Educational Assessment Program and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.)

But Michael Hock, the director of education assessment for the Vermont Agency of Education, says the Smarter Balanced test is different. For one thing, it will be administered via computer and will allow schools to get results quickly and compare test scores across state borders.

Most importantly, he says, it will be a more effective gauge of students’ comprehension and understanding of subject areas.

Starting in March, every Vermont school will have a three-month period in which to administer the tests. For Hock, the spring of 2015 doesn’t feel that far away. He’s busy — working to help the national efforts to determine the passing score for each grade level, as well as teaching workshops in Vermont, and most of all, building awareness about the tests across the state.

“It’s all leading up to the big day,” he said, when schools launch the new testing program.

Adaptive testing

The SBAC, which will replace the NECAPs this year, will be administered on a computer. The test is adaptive, meaning that a student’s performance on a question determines what question appears next. The test questions increase or decrease in difficulty, automatically adjusting to a student’s learning threshold.

via Common Core: Mixed review of new computerized tests for students – VTDigger.

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