As many as 75 Department schools have been selected to participate in the pilot of the Smarter Balanced assessment system, which will be launched statewide in the 2014-15 school year.
The pilot is a national effort slated to involve more than one million students in grades 3-11 in Smarter Balanced member states through late May. Aligned to the 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 will allow Smarter Balanced to evaluate the performance of assessment items and the online test delivery system under real-world conditions. This information will be used to develop additional items and performance tasks, conduct initial scaling, and refine the test engine during the next 18 months.
“We are excited and look forward to a successful pilot and implementation of the Smarter Balanced assessment,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The rigorous computer-adaptive assessment will better engage students with interactive items that measure critical thinking and problem solving. It will provide valuable data for educators, parents, and students, and serve as an important tool to ensure all graduates are prepared to succeed in college and their career path.”
In Hawaii, the pilot will occur throughout seven, two-week windows from Feb. 20 through May 24. Participation in the pilot is voluntary.
Pilot schools will have access to support and resources, including a training test to become familiar with the format of the online assessment. Since the pilot 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.
There are two important phases to the pilot. The Department schools recruited to participate in the scientific sample were selected based on demographic characteristics to ensure pilot results accurately represent the student population across Smarter Balanced member states. Schools in the scientific sample will administer one content area (either mathematics or ELA/literacy) in up to two grades.
As a Smarter Balanced governing state, Hawaii plays a key role in the development of next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Hawaii public school educators have participated in the development and review of assessment items, achievement level descriptors, and test specifications.
Smarter Balanced 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 Smarter Balanced 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.