Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC)

SBAC Field Test (Spring 2014)

Observations from the first two weeks of field testing by Michael Hock, Director of Assessment at the Vermont Agency of Education.

“Over the past several days I've had the opportunity to visit with students and teachers in some of our Field Test schools, accompanied by a few of my AOE colleagues. What a great experience it was to observe the students working at their computers and then having a chance to talk to them after they finish their session. So now we can honestly say, “if you don’t believe us, here’s what we are hearing from the students who are doing the actual hard work of “testing the test”:

  1. I like taking a test on a computer because it doesn’t even seem like you’re taking a test
  2. Having special tools at the top of your screen is good for students
  3. This is way better than NECAP
  4. Sitting for a long time was hard – kids need more breaks
  5. WRONG!!! (response to hearing that some adults don’t think 3rd and 4th graders are ready to take a test on computers)

Students also told me that they liked the reading passages and the classroom activity that precedes the performance task. My favorite moment of all, however, was when a 5th grader gave me a very earnest look and then asked, “when you were young did you want to grow up and make tests?” I didn’t, but right now, given what I heard and saw during these visits, I’m very glad I did.”

The Vermont Agency of Education selected 27 Vermont elementary, middle and high schools to participate in field testing the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, a new computer-based educational testing program that will replace the state’s current NECAP tests in the spring of 2015. The purpose of field testing is to ensure that assessment items and tasks meet high standards of technical and educational quality. It also provides students and teachers with a valuable preview of the new computer-based assessments, and will give the schools and the state an opportunity to prepare for the technological and logistical requirements of the new system.

Q: When is the Smarter Balanced Field Test scheduled to be administered?

A: TheSmarter Balanced Field Test is scheduled to be administered between March 25 and June 6, 2014.


Michael Hock, Director of Educational Assessment, at or (802) 479-1288

Page Last Updated on December 4, 2014