Washington Begins Pilot Test of Next-Generation Student Assessments
OLYMPIA — February 25, 2013 — In the coming weeks, some schools in Washington state will participate in the pilot test of the new “Smarter Balanced” assessments. The pilot test, which is expected to involve more than one million students across the country in grades 3–11, is being conducted in Smarter Balanced member states now through late May. Aligned to the new evidence-based, rigorous Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics, the Smarter Balanced assessment system is designed to measure student progress toward college and career readiness.
The pilot test will allow the test developers to evaluate the assessment items and the online test-delivery system under real-world conditions. This information will be used to make adjustments during the next 18 months in preparation for full implementation. These new assessments will be administered in spring 2015. They will replace our current Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) for reading and math in grades 3–8 and writing in grades 4 and 7, and the High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE) for reading and writing.
“As we prepare to implement fully the Common Core State Standards, it’s important that we have next-generation assessments that reflect this change,” said State Superintendent Randy Dorn. “We need to get this right. The successful implementation of Smarter Balanced assessments is a critical part of our goal to ensure all students are ready for college and careers by the time they graduate from high school.”
Schools’ participation in the pilot test is voluntary and school recruitment is ongoing. So far, approximately 162 Washington schools are participating in the pilot. Schools will administer one content area (either ELA/literacy or mathematics) in up to two grades during a pre-determined two-week window under secure conditions. Because the pilot test is designed to be a test of the items and performance tasks — not an opportunity to report on student learning — schools will not receive student scores and the test will not replace other statewide assessments.
As a Smarter Balanced member state, Washington plays a key role in the development of next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Educators from our state have participated in the development and review of assessment items, achievement-level descriptors and test specifications.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is developing a balanced system of assessments — with formative, interim and summative components — that measure achievement and growth toward college and career readiness. The work of the consortium is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system can provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction and help students succeed — regardless of disability, language or background.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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