Written by Leah Campano|
Image via OSEP
Since elementary school, we have all dreaded statewide testing, enduring two weeks each spring to take the CMT. When we entered high school, we were then required to take the practice CAPT freshman year and the CAPT the following spring, as sophomores. The completion of the CAPT brought us relief, knowing we would never have to subject ourselves to time-consuming statewide testing again. We could begin to focus on college-entry tests, such as the SAT and the ACT. But for juniors, that is sadly not the case.
This spring, a new state-required test will be introduced called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or more commonly known as the SBAC. For the junior class, we have been granted yet another stroke of bad luck for the test is required for juniors in high school. A common question among us all is, why are we required to take the SBAC when we have already taken a statewide test? The simple answer is, we have no choice. The test is required by the state. Although the test will not be implemented until the 2014-15 school year, Mr. Webb explained juniors are still required to take the test as a “pilot class.” We are not necessarily “guinea pigs” in the introduction of the SBAC since it will be given in years going forward.
The main difference between the two tests is that the SBAC is computerized and tries to effectively infuse technology. Mr. Webb, the assistant principal, said, “The SBAC wants to more accurately measure where students fall. With each question answered right, the test will advance you to another level, giving you harder questions to test how far you can go.” Mr. Webb explained that the test “wants to see where you reach your peak.” Unlike the CAPT, the SBAC will be able to test how far you can expand your knowledge. Mr. Webb explained that the CAPT had no way of knowing if a student could answer harder questions. Students are also not able to skip ahead to the next page on the test as you would be able to on the CAPT or CMT. All questions on the page must be answered before you can advance. The SBAC will test students on language arts and math. The test will be taken during English and math classes over a seven day period – fourteen class periods total. Testing will begin on the week of Monday, March 24th. A second week of testing will take place at a date to be announced.
It is safe to say that juniors feel strongly about having to go through another bout of standarized testing. Erin Barnett, junior, said, “It is a little ridiculous that juniors have to take the SBAC in addition to CAPT. We have already had our fair share of standarized testing.” Ashlyn Chidsey, junior, felt similarly: “I do not like that juniors have to take another test when we already took CAPTs last year. The SBAC should begin with the 2014-15 juniors.” Sophomores will only have to take the science CAPT this year and will take the SBAC in Spring 2015. So as a junior class, we must collectively embrace our bad luck and accept our unfortunate fate. We have been hit with CAPTs, SBACs, and Junior Portfolio, but Mr. Webb ensured that the juniors will be rewarded for our hard work, perseverance and tolerance of our bad luck.
Practice tests for the SBAC are available online at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/practice-test/.