Students Prepare for State Testing

SBAC state testing will begin after break for juniors.

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SBAC state testing will begin after break for juniors.

Jasmin Heimerl, Staff Reporter

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State testing will begin April 8 through April 19 for students in grade 11 in subjects, English and math.  They have been preparing throughout the year by taking interim practice assessments and completing common core curriculum.

The SBAC, short for Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium are high-quality assessments in English and math for grades 3–8 and high school. The test was developed to provide more accurate and meaningful information about what students are learning in school.

Recognizing that most assessment systems were disjointed and outdated, 30 states came together in 2010 to submit a grant application to create a system that would redefine assessments. They made sure that these tests are conducted online, that they measure essential skills such as critical thinking, writing, and problem-solving, that they are fair for all students and that they support teachers in professional development.

According the the Los Banos School District website, “The Smarter Balance assessment system-including summative, interim, and formative components—is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and will accurately measure student achievement and growth toward college- and career- readiness.  These assessments will go beyond multiple choice to include performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate research, writing, and analytical skills. The assessments are designed to give teachers the feedback they need to inform instruction, and the tools to improve teaching and learning.”

Testing normally takes two days to complete.  On the first day, students answer multiple choice questions as well as short answer questions based on literary and informational texts. On day two, they write an argumentative essay based on several provided sources.

In the following week, students will test in math. Similar to the English assessments, students will have to deal with multiple choice and short answer questions. However, on the second day they will have to solve a performance task and explain their answer in a written format.

Student scores will determine class placement at the senior level for next year, as well as at the college level the following year.  These tests are used in place of college placement exams.  Teachers also use the scores to help assess students’ strengths and weaknesses and allows them an insight to change or adapt curriculum to help students meet needed areas.

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