California Educator

November 2014

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Page 47 of 63

Learning The field test is over. Now what? By Vernon Gettone, CTA Instruction and Professional Development Smarter Balanced Assessments V E R 4 . 2 M I L L I O N students par- ticipated in the spring 2014 field test of the Smarter Bal- anced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) online test. California represented more than 73 percent of all Smarter Bal- anced testing. O The intent of the field test was to: • Test the test. • Give students and states an opportunity to use the online computer assessment. • Collect information from the scientific sampling from every state for use in setting achievement levels (devel- oping cut scores) in November 2014. How was this done? Last month, panels of educators, including CTA members, educators, higher education faculty, parents and other stakeholders, met online and in-person to review the data. The in-person sessions were held Oct. 13-19 in Dallas, Texas, and the online sessions were held Oct. 6-17. California sent the largest number of educators to the Dallas meeting. There were three panels, one each for grade 11, grades 6-8, and grades 3-5. Each panel was divided into English language arts and mathematics. Working in these grade level and subject area teams, the panels reviewed field test data and test items. Deliberation on achievement level descriptors (ALDs) helped stakeholders and educators come to an agreement on how many and what types of test questions are too difficult or too basic, and a clear definition of proficient. The online panel made a recom- mendation for the level 3 achievement score; the in-person panels deliberated and made recommendations for the threshold of four achievement levels. Ultimately, the panels recommended four achievement levels or cut scores for English language arts and mathematics tests for grades 3-8 and grade 11. There is no label for achievement levels 1, 2 and 4. Level 3 was determined to be proficient for purposes of state and federal accountabil- ity. Level 4 is the highest level of achievement. What does that mean for teachers? Classroom teachers had a lot of input in the four achievement levels, which will determine if a student meets the goal of being proficient on the sub- ject matter test. Much of the panel's work was based on achievement level descriptors, which explain the knowledge and skills of students in each level of achievement. What's next? What is CTA doing? Earlier this month (Nov. 6), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) reviewed the achievement level recommendations and will approve or adjust the recommendations from the panels. CCSSO will then send the recommendations to SBAC member states like California, which will review, accept or adjust the recommendations. The State Board of Education's deci- sion on those recommendations will be the basis for how student scores are reported after schools administer the SBAC assessment in the spring of 2015. Meanwhile, the California Department of Education is convening its Pub- lic Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) advisory committee to consider likely next steps and timelines in creating a student score report. CTA members are monitoring this committee. In addition, CTA's Assessment and Testing Committee will be meeting three times between now and January to make recommendations at the next State Council meeting on how to proceed. The committee chair is Jennifer Pettey, Orange Unified Education Association. 46

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