In February our teachers and students began taking the new Smarter Balanced assessment (SBA) practice tests to get ready for the new tests beginning April 14. As far back as September, teachers and students have been learning together how to use Chromebooks for these new online assessments.
Thanks to voter approval of the 2010 Building Repair & Technology Levy
, the district deployed 3,400 Chromebooks to our 26 elementary, middle and high schools. Since last fall, we have been improving wireless networks to ensure that each student will have access on test days.
Last summer the teaching and learning staff produced hundreds of hours of training, including online videos and face-to-face classes for teachers and support staff. These classes involve everything from Chromebook basics to learning to infuse technology into daily instruction.
The district assessment department’s webpage includes videos
and links to practice tests to give you a taste of what students are experiencing this year. The April 4, 2015 Daily Herald
front page story carried valuable, in-depth information about the new assessments. The article included parent thoughts after attending one of the dozens of “road show” demonstrations held at each of our 26 schools by district assessment department staff. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction also recently released a statement
about the new assessments.
I have been inspired by what I see in classrooms around our district as teachers and students open up Chromebooks and dive into challenging subjects and fascinating learning experiences. While many of us would be more comfortable with paper and pen, students tell us that taking tests on a computer is much more engaging than “those old tests.” All of this preparation is aimed at ensuring our students will be prepared to show what they know and can do on this new assessment, and how we can further improve teaching and learning as a result.