4 Essential Points for Your School's Smarter Balanced Assessments Checklist

Posted by Andrew Howard on Apr 9, 2015 9:35:00 AM
Andrew Howard

This past semester, we’'ve noticed (via conversations with educators across the country) that many schools and curriculum departments seem to have a pretty solid understanding of how they plan to integrate the new standards into current curricula and lesson plans.

Wowzers Smarter Balanced Update imageHowever, the process of preparing the school, staff, and students for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consoritum (SBAC) Common Core-aligned tests seems to be lagging behind the efforts focused on standards integration. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that there is still not a ton of information out there about the new assessments.

Sample problems and blueprints are trickling in, but not at an ideal rate. That’'s why we wanted to put together a quick checklist to help those who are trying to catch their online assessment preparations up with their CCSS integration efforts.

Read below the break to see a checklist of general goals your school should strive for to be ready (from a technical standpoint) for the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessments by the 2014-2015 deadline.

√   Must have an approved electronic device available to each individual student

Let's be honest, without an electronic device allotted for each student, you simply cannot test. When we say "electronic device", we mean either a tablet, netbook, or computer on which a student has individual access. It's also important to note that schools do not necessarily need a 1:1 student-to-device ratio to check this box, but there does need to be time allotted for each student to test on a device at a given testing period.

Check out the link below to learn more about the required device specifications for Smarter Balanced (SBAC), including minimum screen size and technology requirements:

√   Your School’ tech infrastructure must be able to support tests and technology

Much like the device requirements, your school’'s technology department must ensure that the educational technology is on par with the SBAC's recommended levels. This includes testing via the correct web browser(s), providing the needed bandwidth levels, and ensuring students have easy, safe, and secure internet access. The above technology requirements link is a great place to start (depending on which assessment your state has adopted).

√   Efforts have been made to foster student and staff digital literacy

Okay, so you’'ve got your technology and devices up to snuff. Now, let’'s start getting those kids and staff ready to use all of it properly. It's important to ensure the students and staff know exactly what to expect from a functionality and content standpoint before they embark on the assessment. Read more about the value of student digital literacy by clicking here.

√   Educators and staff understand scope and functionality of testing accommodations

Lastly, as we all know, students with special needs will require additional accommodations. Make sure you are at a high level of understanding when it comes to accommodations for ELA students, ELL students, special needs students, and students with disabilities. Below are the respective links to accommodation info for the Smarter Balanced assessments:

Note: this blog post was adapted from a previous Wowzers Blog post.

More SBAC Assessment resources from Wowzers

Of course, we also recommend checking out Smarter Balanced’'s main website to learn more about any general questions or FAQs you may have. You can access the sites via the links below.

Help your students practice and model the SBAC online math assessments with Wowzers Online Math! See how in this quick 40-second video.

As always, if you have any questions or comments related to Wowzers or this blog post, be sure to reach out to us via our Facebook page or tweet us at @Wowzers


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Topics: Common Core Assessments

Wowzers is a comprehensive online math program covering all Common Core State Standards for grades K-8. The research-based program adapts to each learner and allows for an individualized path through the curriculum. Content is presented in multiple ways, and appeals to tactile, auditory, and visual learners. Assessments mirror those found on high-stakes achievement tests and provide teachers and administrators with the information that they need to personalize learning for each student.

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