I emailed White Mountains Regional School District assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Melissa Keenan to ask how the Smarter Balanced field test was going. She sent along this May 7th story from the Coos County Democrat (and two memos – here and here – quoted in the story) and said,
We have been participating in the field test and it has gone very well! Our technology infrastructure was in excellent shape, students’ abilities to navigate and use the technology tools was impressive, and the content of the test itself proved both challenging and informative for students and teachers.
Since this was a field test, different test items were being “tested” by the students (e.g., some students received test items that assessed higher grade level content). While this content proved to be challenging for some students, what was remarkable was the way in which students stuck with the task at hand.
We worked together as a district team to prepare for the test–reading a binder full of documents and viewing numerous video clips. Each building-level team did a remarkable job of organizing all of the required details.
One of the steps test administrators were expected to take was to prepare students to navigate the “interface” of the test (i.e. introduce them to the various technology tools available) and to also work with a number of the available practice items. This proved to be a very beneficial process as students reported feeling prepared to take the test.
Of our four schools, three were selected to participate: White Mountains Regional High School, Lancaster Elementary School, and Jefferson Elementary School. Since Whitefield Elementary School was not selected, we are working with them on the same training we did for the other schools since we found the preparation process incredibly informative.
This has been a common story with both Smarter Balanced and PARCC during the current field test, although we need to give kudos to the leadership at WMRSD for making sure the kids felt really prepared. So far it doesn’t look like there were any bogeymen hiding in the closet! So we now have tests that ask kids to demonstrate deeper levels of understanding using modern technological tools and the technology works! Sounds like a significant advance for the US educational system to me.
Thank You for the test info!
Sounds as if it might be the best yet!