Four ANwSU schools and Weybridge Elementary to test new assesment system

MONTPELIER — The four Addison Northwest Supervisory Union schools are among the 27 Vermont elementary, middle and high schools chosen 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 for Math and English Language Arts in the spring of 2015.
The Vermont Agency of Education this past Thursday announced the 27 participating schools, including Addison Central, Ferrisburgh Central, Vergennes Union Elementary and Vergennes Union High schools. The only other Addison County school that will also be taking part is Weybridge Elementary School, which is in the Addison Central Supervisory Union.
The agency sent out a request for volunteers in early July and received applications from 80 schools. Finalists were selected in the order their applications were received.
 “Having more than a third of our schools volunteer for field testing speaks to the great interest our educators have in the new tests,” Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca said. “I’m sorry it wasn’t possible to include them all.”
Through a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, students who participate in the field test will not be required to take the NECAP tests that are scheduled to be administered during October. The waiver allows schools to avoid testing students twice in the same school year without running afoul of the assessment requirements set forth in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Smarter Balanced is being developed by a consortium of 28 states funded with a $178 million federal grant. The new tests will use a state-of-the-art on-line assessment delivery system that is expected to provide more accurate results than the current generation of tests while concurrently reducing the amount of time students spend on testing. Test results will help parents and teachers determine if students are on track for a successful transition to college or the workforce upon graduation.
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.
“Unfortunately, the field test won’t generate any student test scores,” said Michael Hock, state director of educational assessment, “but it does give Vermont a chance to contribute to the development of these exciting new educational tools. We believe the benefits justify having one year without state test results in the 27 field test schools.”
More information on the Smarter Balanced assessments and field test at http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/sbac.html.

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