State Testing Information For Parents

March 06, 2015

Dear Parents:

On March 10, 2015 the assessment window opens for the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests that will be administered in English/Language Arts and Math in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11. The assessment windows remain open through May and specific test schedule will vary by teacher and grade. Please contact your child’s teacher or the school counselor if you have questions or concerns regarding the upcoming assessments.

Some people are predicting that the spring 2015 test results will see Washington students falling off a “performance cliff”, with scores dropping. But the new tests are not comparable so we should not compare scores from one to the other. We have a new baseline!

mtrainierThink of the standards and the assessment as a new target with new results and envision two mountains:
People who successfully climb Mt Rainier (at 14,000 ft.), will find Mt McKinley (at 20,000 ft.) more challenging. Some will be able to meet the challenge, some will be close and some who previously were able to summit Rainier will not be able to summit McKinley at first.

Preparing for New Test Scores

  • Smarter Balanced assessments measure the full range of the Common Core State Standards. They are designed to let teachers and parents know whether students are on track to be college-and career-ready by the time they graduate.
  • Because the new standards set higher expectations for students–and the new tests are designed to assess student performance against these higher expectations–our definition of grade level performance is higher than it used to be.
  • As a result, it’s likely that fewer students will meet grade level standards, especially for the first few years. Results should improve as students have additional years of instruction aligned to the new standards and become better equipped to meet the challenges they present.
  • This does not mean that our students are “doing worse” than they did last year. Rather, the scores represent a “new baseline” that provides a more accurate indicator for educators, students, and parents as they work to meet the rigorous demands of college and career readiness.

Because the new content standards set higher expectations for students and the new tests are designed to assess student performance against those higher standards, the bar has been raised. It’s not surprising that fewer students could score at Level 3 or higher. However, over time the performance of students will improve. If you would like additional information on estimated percentages of students scoring at each achievement level, please follow the link below.

Liz Crider

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