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May 16, 2014

posted May 16, 2014, 10:31 AM by jmarcotte@sau4.org
Smarter Balanced Assessment

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This week at both DES and NHCS, we had the opportunity to take a look at our new state assessment tool— “Smarter 

Balanced”. Both schools along with several others were selected to pilot either language arts or math in a certain grade 

level. Our 4th graders at DES and our 5th graders at NHCS were selected to participate in the language arts test. By 

doing the pilot assessment, we were able to see the assessment in action and obtain feedback from our students, faculty, 

and staff so that we can plan for the actual implementation. Next spring, is when we will be taking this test for the first 


Here is just a little information from the website, smarterbalanced.org. “The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is 

developing a system of valid, reliable, and fair next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards 

(CCSS) in English language arts/literacy and mathematics for grades 3-8 and 11. The system—which includes both 

summative assessments for accountability purposes and optional interim assessments for instructional use—will use 

computer adaptive testing technologies to the greatest extent possible to provide meaningful feedback and actionable 

data that teachers and other educators can use to help students succeed. Smarter Balanced assessments will go beyond 

multiple-choice questions to include extended response and technology enhanced items, as well as performance tasks that 

allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem solving skills.”

After taking the test for a little over two hours, here is some feedback from our students and staff: 


  • There was a lot of reading
  • The format and computer skills change with each question
  • I am going to practice having my students go from a pre-write torough draft to a final product all in one sitting
  • This is going to take a lot of time to do our best work
  • I am going to rethink my writing and homework assignments
  • One student quote— “This is college level work!”
  • I liked the dictionary and thesaurus resource
  • Most of the reading passages were non-fiction
  • Reading stamina—area of concernfrom feedback with both students and staff

This was a great learning experience. I know our educational staff will reflect and as a collective group, we will continue 

our dialogue on improving our instructional practices to achieve and strengthen our student’s knowledge and academic 


Have a great weekend—