Let's Talk Assessments
Adrienne Capone is the Director of Curriculum and Assistant Principal at Mt. Mansfield Union High School. She has worked in education in Vermont since 1989, serving as a teacher of English, Curriculum Coordinator for the Humanities and as a curriculum developer for the Mt. Mansfield Union School District. Adrienne also served as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Vermont in the Department of Leadership and Developmental Sciences and has taught classes in curriculum and assessment design for Southern New Hampshire University. She earned her Ed.D. in 2013 from UVM in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and her M.A. in English Education from Vermont College in 1989.
Mt. Mansfield Union High School participated in the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Field Test this year, and we have many lessons learned to share. In order to administer the test, I suggest creating a manual for your test administrators. The manual that SBAC provides is over 100 pages long and highly technical. It contains far more information than the administrator needs to know, and the direct instructions for how to access and administer the test are interspersed with the technical information. Also, while there is a training module, it is twenty minutes long and painfully slow. You will also need to drill through that manual to find out how to do a test simulation for your test administrators. My suggestions for circumventing some of these issues are to run through the test administration yourself, schedule a training time for test administrators to practice, and to the best of your ability, limit the number of test administrators so a few teachers become facile with the format. At Mt. Mansfield we do not cancel classes while we test, so all grades not testing are attending class. Consequently, we need many teachers to administer the test.
I have administered the NECAP writing online and the SBAC Field Test in three grades. For writing and constructed responses, the students really appreciate the ability to write on the computer. Our students at Mt. Mansfield wrote some comments on the testing. They were not as enthusiastic as some of the younger students for items other than the writing. Here are some of their comments with regard to electronic testing:
- Copy and paste should be available for inserting quoted material in an essay
- Note-taking tool should be moveable—it covered the material needed to take accurate notes
- Less readings and more questions on ELA Non-Performance Task
- Did not like to read long pieces online. Would prefer a paper document and to write on the computer
- Improve calculator—it is missing essential functions
- Electronic calculator is inefficient
- Did not like the computer format difficult to read, scroll, see entire document
- On the math there were graphs that were not completely visible on the small screen
We all know that there will be growing pains with any new format for testing; however, I wanted to let everyone hear secondary students’ voices so that schools can better prepare their students for the assessment.
Page Last Updated on December 4, 2014