Let's Talk Assessments
Callie Lumbra is a 5th grade teacher at Bakersfield Elementary School. She is a first year teacher originally from East Fairfield, Vermont. Callie graduated from Saint Michael’s College with a BA in psychology, summa cum laude, in 2013. Connect with Callie and her students on Twitter: @LumbraLearners
The Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Assessment measures the skills of a 21st century thinker. Jobs facing today’s students require more than choosing the correct answer from a list of options. When we ask students to closely analyze texts, make connections between ideas, and use more than one math concept to answer a question, we’re helping them apply what they’re learning in a way that’s valuable and more importantly, real. We can also develop a much clearer picture about what students understand and can do independently.
Because of how the test was designed, the SBAC requires students to be more engaged during the testing experience. The test won’t just “happen” to students—instead of filling bubbles in to answer a math question, for example, students will find themselves sorting expressions, completing a table, or plotting points on a graph. Students also have a variety of testing-taking tools at their fingertips (highlighting, “flagging” questions for later, and eliminating responses), which can be great tools to keep test-takers organized if they’re comfortable with the technology.
To help students adapt to the types of questions they’ll see on the test, teachers can find, use, and weave in SBAC sample items into literacy instruction and math assessments! You’ll learn a lot about how students grapple with these types of questions, how they’re likely to answer, and where you can take your instruction in the future.
As my students mentioned, I’m also taking away that students need additional and prolonged experiences with typing! Word processing longer writing pieces in a single sitting will help build stamina for the test.
Page Last Updated on July 8, 2014