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SBAC test on track for implementation
MONDAY, JULY 07, 2014 10:12 AM

Students across the country took standardized tests during their spring semester as part of field testing for new assessments. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is one such exam (that's also aligned with the Common Core State Standards) meant to measure student performance. While the scores are not designed to be high stakes for students, they certainly are important for teachers and schools. In the future, the outcome of tests may determine funding and play a role in teacher evaluations. However, the testing completed in the spring of 2014 was a pilot run. 

The point of the pilot
The SBAC evaluations were given to students in 21 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some participating states only had a small group of students complete the test rather than all students. California, however, administered the test to every student attending public school. In fact, California had the largest sampling of student testing of any participating state in the nation.

The pilot-run scores are important for the overall success of the SBAC. They help creators know which questions are too tough, which are too easy, and how accurately the exam as a whole assesses Common Core-aligned curriculum knowledge. By gathering this data now, the SBAC creators can make adjustments as needed before the exams are implemented as a regular part of Common Core schooling in the 2014-2015 school year.

"Thanks to this trial run, California's students and schools are headed into our new assessments next year with confidence about what they can expect," Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a statement. "The field test gave us an opportunity to measure the quality of test items, determine our technological readiness, and experience a whole new way of testing. Now we know that the system as a whole is in very strong shape, and we know where local challenges lie in time to address them."

On track for fall
SBAC has provided training materials online for states, schools, districts and teachers who will be using the exam in the future. Releasing such materials is part of the test's implementation timeline. Should test implementation stay on track, students will be taking the summative version of the exam during the last 12 weeks of school in 2015. The makers of the SBAC will once again evaluate the scores to ensure that the test's standards match those of the Common Core, and that it's an accurate way to assess teachers and students.