FIELD TESTING FAQs
What is the Smarter Balanced “field test?”
In spring 2014, about 200,000 Washington students will participate in the computer-based Smarter Balanced field test. The field test is a practice run that will help ensure that the new tests are accurate and fair for all students. Smarter Balanced will use information from the field test to improve the tests for their rollout in 2014-15 school year.
What grades will take the field test?
Students in grades 3-8 and 9-11 will be involved in the Smarter Balanced field test. Contact your school to see if they are participating.
How do schools and students benefit from participating in the field test?
The field test gives teachers and schools a chance to practice giving the tests, and offers students the opportunity to experience the new computer-based exams. Because the field test is a practice run – or a test of the test – students will not receive scores.
When will the Smarter Balanced field test be administered?
The field tests are available March 25 to June 6, 2014, but schools select a three-week window within that timeframe to test.
What tests will students take?
Students participating in the field test in grades 3-8 will take both the Smarter Balanced math or English language arts exam. Students in grades 9-11 will take one or the other, but rarely both.
Will the field test be administered on paper or only on computer?
The field test will be administered only via computer.
Which states will participate in the field test?
All 22 states that belong to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium are participating in the field test. More than three million students in those states will take one of field tests.
Can students, teachers and parents take a practice exam? Yes. Take a practice test at: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/pilot-test.
Will students participating in the field test still take the regular state exams?
Most elementary and middle school students in ‘field test schools’ will only take the field tests in English language arts and math; they will not take the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) in reading, writing, or math. Students in grade 5 and 8 will take the science MSP. Because of our state’s assessment high school graduation requirements, high school students participating in the field test may also be testing in the regular state exams.
How long will each Smarter Balanced exam take?
Like our state exams, Smarter Balanced tests are not timed. It’s estimated that the English language arts exam will take 3.5 to 4 hours and the math exam 2.5 to 3.5 hours. Testing will occur in multiple sessions, so students will typically spend 1 to 2 hours per day on the exams over several days.
Does the field test support English language learners, students with disabilities and other students with special needs?
Nearly all of the accommodations and supports planned for the real tests in 2015 are available on the field tests this year, allowing the Smarter Balanced assessment system to provide accurate measures of achievement for students with disabilities and English language learners. The exams will address visual, auditory and physical access barriers—allowing virtually all students to demonstrate what they know and can do. For more information, download Smarter Balanced’s Accessibility and Accommodations fact sheet and visit the Support for Under-Represented Students page.
Is training available for schools and teachers on giving the exam?
Yes, OSPI is hosting a series of webinars (available at http://www.k12.wa.us/SMARTER/Webinars.aspx) and Smarter Balanced has provided Web-based training modules covering the following topics at http://sbac.portal.airast.org/field-test/resources/#training:
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