In the spring of 2014-2015 school year, third-sixth graders through out California will take the Smarter Balanced Tests instead of the STAR. This new test will assess students’ performance level on the new Common Core Standards. More significantly, the assessment will be taken on a computer! It is not a paper pencil bubble-in format!!
Our fourth graders recently had the opportunity to participate in a pilot of the new test. It was an exciting experience watching the future of educational assessment. Our school district assessment team and the Smarter Balanced test makers learned from our computer glitches about hardware and software needs to prepare for the new assessments. The fourth grade teachers and I learned several positive things; most of our students are comfortable testing on a computer, our students try their best to do well, and they will continue to learn the academic skills necessary to perform very well on future tests.
Keyboarding skills was the one area we all noted most students will need more instruction in order to be confident test takers in the future. Our fourth grade students who have proficient keyboarding skills were able to complete the pilot test at double the rate of those with limited skills who needed to “hunt and peck” for letters and numbers. Not only were the proficient keyboarders faster, they did not use up their stamina in the typing process and could maintain focus on the test questions. As a school, we are discussing ways to provide keyboarding instructions to 3rd – 6th graders next year. In the meantime, if you want to assist in preparing your child, load a keyboarding software program to your home computer and have them spend a few minutes daily on keyboarding.
The future of educational assessment will be here soon. Let’s be prepared. Go Dragons!
Last Modified on May 1, 2013