Smarter Balanced Field Test Overview

Hi I’m Tom Torlakson.
As State Superintendent of Schools for California, and as a teacher, I thank you for taking some
time to find out more about our new computer-based assessments.
These new tests are going to be helping improve learning and teaching in our California classrooms.
These new tests will give us new insights and new tools to help reach every student,
to make sure we’re providing the kind of world-class education they need for success
in careers and college. Thank you for watching, and thank you for
your interest in the future of California’s children. Welcome to the California Department of Education’s
Smarter Balanced Field Test video resources. These resources are designed to help you—the
education community—learn more about what’s needed to prepare for the spring 2014 Smarter
Balanced Field Test. This video provides an overview of the Smarter
Balanced Field Test, a key component of California’s new assessment system, and explains how educators
can prepare students for a successful field test experience.
California has a clear and inspiring vision for public education, focused on great instruction
and grounded in the Common Core State Standards (or CCSS).
The goal is for all students, regardless of where they are from or where they live, to
graduate prepared for college and careers in the global economy of the twenty-first
century. Implementing the new statewide assessment
system, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (or CAASPP), including
the Smarter Balanced Field Test, is another step toward that goal.
In 2015, the new Smarter Balanced tests in English Language Arts (or ELA) and Mathematics
will replace the ELA and Mathematics California Standards Tests, also known as CSTs.
Field testing is important to make sure that the test items are accessible to all students
and produce results that are valid, reliable and fair.
In addition, our county offices and districts need to determine the level of technological
readiness at each school site. Teachers and students need to become familiar with these
new tests and will benefit from hands-on experience with the technology and performance tasks.
It’s important to keep in mind that no scores from the Field Test will be reported, and
the results of the Field Test will not be factored into state or federal accountability
calculations. This Smarter Balanced Field Test is a real
opportunity for teachers and students to “test the test.”
This computer based experience mirrors the elements and conditions of the actual test
in order to identify issues that need to be addressed prior to the administration of the
Smarter Balanced tests in 2015. Encouraging and supporting teachers and students
to fully embrace and experience the Field Test will yield information about the technology
readiness of districts and data critical to implementing the operational assessment in
2015. All Local Education Agencies are required
by legislation signed into law by Governor Brown in October 2013 to participate in the
Smarter Balanced Field test. This means that all public schools, including
charter schools are required to participate. The Smarter Balanced Field Test will be administered
from March 18, 2014 through June 6, 2014. Each school in California has been assigned
a six-week window; districts may schedule schools to test any time within that assigned
window. Please note that the Smarter Balanced Field
Test will not be available from Thursday April 10th through Sunday, April 13th and also from
Thursday May 8th through Sunday May 11th for maintenance of the system. A list of test window assignments is available
at the California Technical Assistance Center website.
The Field Test consists of three components: English Language Arts, Mathematics, and a
performance task in either ELA or Math. The Field Test will be taken by all students
in grades three through eight, and a small sample of students in grades nine and ten.
Some grade 11 students will be selected for the scientific sample; all other 11th grade
students may and are strongly encouraged to participate. 95% of these students will take a sample of
items from the English Language Arts Field Test and a sample of items from the mathematics
Field Test. The remaining 5% of these students will take
a single subject test in either ELA or mathematics. All of the students will complete one performance
task in either ELA or mathematics. English learners who have attended school
in the United States for less than 12 months are not required to take the ELA Field Test,
but will be required to take the mathematics Field Test. The only students who are not required to
take any part of the Smarter Balanced Field Test are students with special needs who are
eligible to take the California Alternate Performance Assessment, or CAPA. On March 10th, all district test coordinators
will receive information regarding which tests will be assigned to each school and grade
level. The school site determines the order in which
the tests are to be taken. For example, the school site may decide to
schedule the mathematics test first, followed by the ELA test, then followed by the ELA
performance task. The complete Field Test is estimated to take
three and one half hours. The ELA test will include approximately 25
questions and should take, on average, about 45 minutes to complete.
Likewise, the mathematics section is composed of about 25 questions and also should take
approximately 45 minutes to complete. The performance task begins with a thirty-minute
classroom activity, and then will continue with students using computers for an estimated
60–90 minutes. These time frames are estimates, as the test
is NOT timed, and districts will determine the schedules that best meet school site needs.
Your local schedule should allow for developmentally appropriate time frames so that each student,
over the course of multiple sessions, can fully complete all components of the Smarter
Balanced Field Test. As you prepare for the Field Test, refer often
to the Smarter Balance Field Test page on the CDE website, and contact the CAASPP office
with questions. CDE’s Field Test page provides links to
useful tools and video resources. Another step as you prepare is to attend presentations
or training sessions provided by your County Office, by the CDE, and by the test contractor.
The test contractor’s training sessions cover necessary information for test administrators
and technology coordinators. Many of these have been archived for future
reference. Districts will need to ensure that the secure
browser software is installed on all computers that will be used for the Field Test at each
school site. Districts will also need to provide opportunities
for teachers to become familiar with the practice test and use it with students in the classroom.
The best way to prepare students for the test is to ensure that they have multiple opportunities
to use the technology and become familiar with the new types of test items.
More information about this is provided on the California Department of Education’s
Field Test web page. Districts and school site educators will need
to identify the designated supports or accommodations for English learners and students with special
needs and work with the district test coordinator and technology staff to upload that information
into the TIDE system. Detailed information about this is provided
on the California Department of Education’s Field Test web page. Districts should provide teachers and students
with opportunities to experience the training test on the devices that students will use
during the test. Such practice opportunities are essential
to help English learners and students with special needs learn how to take the test.
More information about this is provided on the California Department of Education’s
Field Test web page. District and school leadership should ensure
everyone is familiar with the security procedures around the Field Test and the process to be
used as the Field Test is administered. Information about the procedures to follow
on the day of the test can be found in the California Online Field Test Administrator
Manual. Communicate with parents and community members
about the details and expectations of the Field Test.
The student videos provided by the California Department of Education can be used for this
purpose as well. Thank you for viewing this overview of California’s
Smarter Balanced Field Test. We encourage you to view the other videos
provided by the California Department of Education, and to share these resources with other educators,
students and parents.

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