SBAC CDE Top News
- SBAC in the News
- Item Specifications Review
- Technology Readiness Tool
- New external website
The SBAC CDE weekly update is an email sent each week to inform California educators and parents of new developments and upcoming events. Please feel free to share information in the update with those who are interested in the SBAC CDE’s work.
SBAC in the News—Two recent articles highlighted the SBAC work. Governing magazine (Outside Source) interviewed Dr. Joe Willhoft (SBAC Chief Executive Director) and Dr. Carissa Miller (Co-Chair SBAC Executive Committee/Deputy Superintendent of the Idaho Department of Education) about the development of next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core. Linda Darling-Hammond (SBAC Senior Research Advisor/Professor of Education at Stanford University) published an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee (Outside Source) about the benefits of Smarter Balanced assessments for California, noting that the assessments will “include more written responses from students, plus tasks that require them to engage in research, solve more complex problems and use technology.”
Item Specifications Review—SBAC is developing assessment item and performance task specifications to provide guidance on how to draft assessment items aligned to the common core state standards. In addition, guidelines for bias and sensitivity, accessibility and accommodations, and style help item developers and reviewers ensure that consistency and fairness are applied across the items. These specifications are being reviewed by member states, school districts and higher education. Visit the SBAC Web site – Assessments section (Outside Source) and scroll down to Item/Task Specifications to review the most updated specifications. The third and final item specifications review will begin in early March and conclude March 16. Final documents (or parts of documents) will be shared along with a response to feedback. This is an opportunity for member states and the public to provide final feedback on what will be the cornerstone documents to item/task development for the Consortium. Feedback from across the Consortium is essential for the final documents to reflect the concerns and desires of the Consortium. Information about the final item specifications review will be forthcoming.
Technology Readiness Tool—SBAC in collaboration with the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Consortium, has contracted with Pearson to develop a Technology Readiness Tool to support states’ planning as they transition to next-generation assessments to be launched beginning in 2014. Data collection will occur once each spring and fall through 2014. All states in the Consortia will be requested to use the tool to assess technology readiness during each window. The press release announcing the contract can be found at the Smarter Balanced Press Release page (Outside Source).
- New External Website— SBAC launced a new external website (Outside Source). The site showcases the SBAC’s work and provides frequent updates on activities, milestones, and events. Visitors are able to explore an interactive timeline of activities by school year, download new fact sheets and resources, and sign up for a monthly e-newsletter. In addition, new materials are now available on the site.
SBAC CDE Upcoming Events
March 12, 2012—An online Technology Readiness Tool training module will be available to local education agencies to support California planning as we transition to next-generation assessments to be launched beginning in 2014. This new open source tool assesses current capacity and compares that to the technology that will be needed to administer the new online assessments in four areas—devices, device to tester ratio, network infrastructure, and staff and personnel. The first of six data collection windows will be March 20 to June 14, 2012. Data collection will occur once each spring and fall through 2014. The goal of the first data collection window is to collect easily accessible baseline data. All states in both consortia will be requested to use the tool to assess technology readiness. Local users will receive an email from CDE with their unique login ID and password. The training will give step-by-step instructions for using the tool and will assist in interpreting reports. A User’s Guide for local education agencies will be available March 20, 2012 and to assist local personnel as they use the tool. Detailed information regarding the Technology Readiness Tool will be forthcoming.
SBAC CDE Resources
- Year Two, First Quarter Project Report available—The quarterly project report for the period ending December 31, 2011, can be found at Smarter Balanced Quarterly Report December 2011 (Outside Source). The report details SBAC’s progress in key areas and priorities for the next three months.
- The IT architecture and requirements are now available online at Smarter Balanced Technology (Outside Source)(refer to section titled "IT Systems Architecture Reports and Resources").
- Link to the Technology Readiness Tool webinar recording—The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) hosted a webinar on January 30 to provide additional information about the IT readiness effort and answer questions. To access a recording of the webinar, please go to the January 23 webinar sponsored by Assess4ed (Outside Source)
- Report on engaging higher education in new assessments available—A new report from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) identifies the conditions that can help build consensus between state K-12 and postsecondary systems. It also makes recommendations for meaningful involvement by higher education in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and assessments, which will inform our efforts to engage the postsecondary field. The report is available at NCHEMS (Outside Source).
SBAC Question/Answer of the Week (From SBAC All States Update)
Q: Will the SBAC interim assessments be compatible with existing curriculum and instruction system platforms?
A: SBAC is committed to developing an assessment system that uses open-source technology and standard protocols whenever possible to promote compatibility with existing systems. Additional information about the IT systems architecture is available at the Assessment System Architecture and Technology Phase 1 Report (Outside Source). However, SBAC has not yet made a decision regarding how the interim assessments and formative assessment practices will be made available after the system is implemented in the 2014–15 school year. SBAC will work closely with member states, as these platforms are developed to ensure that the assessment system meets the needs of schools and educators.