New Reading and Math Tests to Get 'Test Run'

20-Mar-2014

Approximately 25,000 Hawaii public school students will practice taking improved and more engaging annual state tests meant to better gauge their progress toward college and career readiness.

Students in grades 3-8 and 11 at 91 schools statewide will participate in the field test of the new Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and mathematics between March 25 and June 6. The field test is a practice run of the Smarter Balanced assessments, which will replace the Hawaii State Reading and Mathematics Assessments in the 2014-15 school year.

Hawaii is a governing member of a multi-state consortium that has worked with teachers, parents and higher education faculty in the past two years to develop the Smarter Balanced assessments. Over three million students across the consortium will participate in the field test to ensure questions are valid, reliable and fair for all students. A small sample of students in grades 9 and 10 will also take the field test as part of a small study.

Students will complete the online test in either English language arts or mathematics, or both. Administered over multiple days, the tests are untimed, but each subject area is expected to take 2.5 to 4 hours to complete. Because questions may be revised or dropped after the field test, students will not receive scores.

The field test includes questions with the same features that students will experience in the 2014-15 school year, when Smarter Balanced assessments become operational, including accessibility tools for all students and accommodations – such as Braille – for those who need them. 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 all students succeed – regardless of disability, language, or background. Additional information is available on the Smarter Balanced website: www.smarterbalanced.org.

About the Smarter Balanced Assessment System
The Smarter Balanced Assessment System is a key component of the Hawaii State Board and Department of Education’s Strategic Plan to prepare all students for college and career success. The new tests are aligned to the Hawaii Common Core Standards, a set of consistent expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade in order to graduate equipped with essential critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Over the past two years, the consortium has worked with K-12 teachers and higher education faculty from across member states, as well as national experts, to develop, review and test over 20,000 assessment questions and performance tasks and to build a digital library of instructional and professional development resources for teachers.

Once launched in the 2014-15 school year, the Smarter Balanced Assessment System will also provide information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are thriving and where they need help.

“This is a step forward in our plans to raise student achievement,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.” This comprehensive assessment system will provide meaningful information on student progress to educators, parents and the community. Not only will relevant and innovative test items engage and support students, but teachers will also benefit from actionable data and tools to help them maximize the impact of classroom instruction on learning.”

About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. To learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: donalyn_dela_cruz@hawaiidoe.org

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