Here is some additional information from TJ Bliss, Director of the Assessment and Accountability at the State Department. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact myself, Wendy Moore or the State Department for additional information.
Over the past year, the Assessment and Accountability Division has worked to support districts in preparing for the transition to the new Smarter Balanced Assessment System. Most of this effort has been focused on the “what” and “how” of transitioning: technology, scheduling, accessibility, etc. The Field Test this spring will help districts, schools, teachers, and students better understand the “what” and “how” of Smarter Balanced. However, as we continue the transition, please also consider some of the reasons why the move to the Smarter Balanced Assessment System is important and valuable for Idaho:
Smarter Balanced is currently one of only two assessments fully aligned to the Idaho Core Standards. The summative test will measure students’ ability to balance conceptual understanding with procedural fluency, connect these two types of knowledge, reason mathematically, construct viable arguments, engage with complex texts, and use evidence to inform, argue and analyze.
The Smarter Balanced assessment will probe student knowledge at much deeper levels than our current ISAT. The computer adaptive test engine and advanced item types will provide more accurate measures of student learning, while the performance tasks will measure student knowledge at both depth and breadth.
Idaho educators and educational leaders have been deeply involved in the development and direction of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System from the beginning. As a governing member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium going forward, Idaho will be able to continue this involvement in the future.
Smarter Balanced is a complete assessment system, with summative tests to provide data to inform programmatic decisions, interim tests to inform student progress and curriculum throughout the year, and formative assessment resources to inform teaching and learning on a daily basis.
Students can receive a direct benefit from the 11th grade summative assessment. All public colleges and universities in Idaho (as well as many in the other consortium states) have agreed to use student scores from the 11th grade test to make placement decisions. Students who score advanced or proficient will be eligible to receive exemption from remedial coursework in their first year of college.