SBAC CDE News
The California Department of Education (CDE) Smarter Balanced update is a biweekly e-mail that reports on current and upcoming Smarter Balanced development activities. To join the CDE Smarter Balanced electronic mailing list, send a blank e-mail to: email@example.com.
In this issue:
- Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines Now Available
- Assembly Bill 484 Legislative Activity
Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines Now Available
The Smarter Balanced document Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines was approved by governing states September 10, 2013. The guidelines describe different types of support available for specified student groups. Three types of support are identified:
- Universal tools, available to all students. These include features such as spell-check, digital highlighter, embedded rulers, protractors and calculators for some mathematics problems, and dictionaries for writing performance tasks.
- Designated supports, available to identified students, including English learners, struggling readers, and students identified with attention deficits. Supports of this type include color contrast text, blocking distracting content, stacked translations, and bilingual dictionary.
- Accommodations, available to students with an individualized education program or a 504 plan that specifies the need for such an accommodation. Examples of accommodations include closed captioning, a Braille calculator, and speech-to-text technology.
Access the Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines (PDF) on the Smarter Balanced Web site.
Assembly Bill 484 Legislative Activity
Most recently amended on September 6, 2013, Assembly Bill (AB) 484 now calls for the establishment of a new statewide student assessment system, the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress, which would replace the current Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. The bill outlines the assessments in the MAPP, some of which were previously part of the STAR Program. For the 2013–14 school year, AB 484 requires the following:
- The administration of the California Standards Tests for science in grades five, eight, and ten
- The administration of the California Alternate Performance Assessment for English–language arts, mathematics in grades two through eleven and for science in grades five, eight, and ten
- The availability of the Early Assessment Program assessment for English–language arts and mathematics in grade eleven
- The availability of the Standards Based Tests in Spanish as an optional assessment for English–language arts and mathematics in grades two through eleven
- The participation of all local educational agencies (LEAs) in the Smarter Balanced spring 2014 Field Test for one subject area only (i.e., English–language arts or mathematics).
These amendments will allow California LEAs to focus more fully on their transition to the Common Core State Standards and will provide the opportunity to experience computer-based testing before the Smarter Balanced operational assessments launch in the 2014‒15 school year.
AB 484 was passed by the California State Senate on September 10 and by the State Assembly on September 11. The bill now sits with the Governor, who has until October 13, 2013 to sign AB 484 into law. Access the enrolled version of AB 484 on the California Legislative Information Web site.
Additional information about Smarter Balanced is available on the CDE Smarter Balanced Web page. General questions about the Smarter Balanced assessments should be directed to the CDE Statewide Assessment Transition Office by phone at 916-445-8517 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.