Maine schools participating in field test for next generation of assessments

Schools across Maine voluntarily began participating in the field test of the Smarter Balanced assessments in grades 3-8 and 11 this week. Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing Maine’s college and career readiness standards and preparing all students for success beyond high school.

Components of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System (SBAS) will be used as part of the Maine State Assessment Program, replacing existing assessments and providing an academic check-up by measuring students’ real-world skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving.

Nearly 200 Maine schools voluntarily opted to participate in the Smarter Balanced field test. The better than expected response to the call for participants speaks to the interest among Maine schools in having students experience the next generation of assessments. It also reflects the commitment of Maine schools to contributing to the development of a fair, accurate and comprehensive assessment system that provides parents and educators the information they need to help all students be college and career ready.

The field test, which is being offered throughout the spring, is supporting the development of the summative assessment component of the system. Two additional optional components will be made available to schools and include interim assessments and a digital library comprised of formative assessment tools. The field test will help ensure the assessments are accurate and fair for all students and will also allow teachers and schools a chance to gauge their readiness in advance of the first operational assessments scheduled for spring 2015.

The field test represents one of the final stages in a lengthy development process working to ensure the SBAS aligns to Maine’s college and career readiness standards and accurately measures the depth and breadth of student knowledge. As a Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium member, Maine educators have played a leading role in the development of the assessments and participated in reviewing and testing thousands of assessment items and performance tasks.

For more information on the field test, visit: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/field-test/ or contact Maine DOE Assessment Coordinator Susan Fossett at susan.fossett@maine.gov or Maine DOE Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome at rachelle.tome@maine.gov.