Field Test Questions & Answers
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Field Test Questions & Answers
As of February 24, 2014

Updated field test Q & A documents and webinar materials are now available.

US Department of Education Double Testing Flexibility Waiver

When will we know when the double testing waiver has been approved?
OSPI has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for a waiver that allows elementary and middle schools to participate in the Smarter Balanced field tests without having to also administer the MSP.

Registering for the Field Tests

The deadline for schools to register or opt-in to participate is October 10, 2013. If schools are still trying to work with their building staff to see if this is viable for their school, will consideration be taken to have an extension to the deadline?
No, schools must be registered in WAMS by Thursday, October 10 at 11:59 P.M.

If a school signs up for the Smarter Balanced Pilot, can they decline later and to the MSP?
Unfortunately no. To minimize costs and maximize efficiency in the administration, the vendor for the field tests needs to know who will participate so they can be sure there is sufficient capacity, and the vendor for the MSP needs to know who will not be participating so they don’t print too many materials or hire too many scorers, etc.

Our plan is to register two elementary and two middle schools in the field test. If we decide after October 10 that we want to test these schools with MSP, can we change our registration?
After October 10, schools cannot change registration. This is because both the consortium and our own state testing vendors need to prepare for the proper volume of testing.

Will there be any consideration to "opt-in" by grade level instead of by school?
No, because of school accountability, we need to include all tested grades at a school. If an elementary or middle school registers for the field test (grades 3-8), that school is registered at all grades for both ELA and math.

Has the language changed from a whole grade level at a school field testing in ELA and math, to a whole school field testing?
OSPI’s language has not changed for field test participation of elementary and middle schools. To make school accountability work, Washington elementary and middle schools will be participating as a whole school in both content areas. The Smarter Balanced consortium does not require this, but Washington does. You might have read that Smarter Balanced gave the option for grade level participation, but the information does not apply to Washington. Keep in mind that high school participation will be by grade level and content area (does not have to be both content areas). We have been consistent with this message from the beginning (i.e., State Test Directors meeting in Aug).

Can a school participate both in the Smarter Field Test and MSP?
In most cases, due to the cost of administering the tests, the state only has resources to cover either the MSP or the Smarter Balanced field tests. The exception to this answer is that Priority, Focus, and Emerging schools may request double testing and, if we have the resources, these schools will be allowed to administer both the field test and the MSP. Superintendents who would like to register their Priority, Focus, and/or Emerging school for Option C (double testing - MSP and Smarter Balanced) should email logan.endres@k12.wa.us by October 10. (see questions below related to priority, focus and emerging schools)

Test Windows or Scheduling

Do schools choose to test in any block between March 18th and June 6th?
Yes.

Do schools need to indicate the three week ‘block’ when they plan to begin testing?
Yes.

Do the selected blocks across our school buildings need to be the same?
No, each school can select a different block to begin testing.

If the three week window is not enough time for all student testing, it is okay to start earlier within the 12 week window or continue into the following block?
The block you indicate will tell us the earliest you will begin testing, but testing may continue into subsequent blocks.

May a school choose two different blocks – one for ELA and one for Math – the testing within those two blocks could be some of each subject?
Yes, schools will choose the block by content area – one block for ELA and one block for math. They can be the same block or not.

Can the assessment window vary across grade levels within a building?
Schools will select the block testing begins in any grade, by content area. It is okay if some grades extend beyond that initial testing window.

Is it correct to say that testing will take 3.5 hours per content area, in perhaps 45-minute sessions, meaning 5 class periods for reading and another 5 periods for the math test. Two solid weeks?
No, it is more appropriate to say the field test will take ½ day for each content area.

The memo says to allow 3.5 hours for each content area, but the testing times listed in another publication range from 3 to 4 ½ hours, depending on the grade/content area. Which set of information is more realistic?
Both estimates of time came from the Smarter Balanced consortium. The 3.5 hours is the latest estimate.

Do we know how much time, out of the 3.5 hours per test subject, the performance task will require.
Unfortunately, not at this time.

High School Participation in Field Tests

Are we required to test ALL students in a high school grade level?
Yes, at this time this is what the consortium is expecting. If we do not meet our sample size targets, the consortium might allow more flexibility.

We can’t support high school participation at this time unless we can be more selective on the participants. Is there flexibility?
Currently, high schools must indicate the grade and content area (ELA and/or math) that will test. It is expected that all students in that grade will test the content area(s) selected. If we do not meet our sample size targets, the consortium might allow more flexibility.

Can a school volunteer to test 11th graders, with the exception of 11th graders who still need to pass an EOC or HSPE? The memo says “Either the ELA or math field test or both may be administered to all students in a grade (except students assessed with the WAAS-Portfolio)” but we are wondering if we can also exclude 11th graders who need to pass a test to graduate.
If a grade is selected, all students in that grade are expected to test. However, if we do not meet our sample size targets, the consortium might allow more flexibility.

It would be more convenient to administer the test in each of our Algebra and Geometry classes (giving the different grade level tests within the same classroom) and not have to restructure the school day around sorting kids by grade. Is this possible?
We believe sessions can be administered in smaller blocks of time, but do not have the breakdown of sessions at this time. Furthermore, the consortium is currently requesting that a whole grade at a school be tested, rather than a mix of students from various grades.

Priority, Focus and Emerging Schools’ Participation

Are there any restrictions on schools categorized as priority, focus or emerging to participate in the Smarter Balanced field testing?
No, but each priority, focus and emerging school’s impact of field test participation will be slightly different and should be discussed with Andy Kelly at (360) 725-4960 or andy.kelly@k12.wa.us. Schools that have been working hard to make improvements may want to stay with the MSP to see the benefits of their efforts. Per the letter dated 10/3/2013 from Andy Kelly, Assistant Superintendent, Student and School Success, Priority, Focus, and Emerging schools may request the opportunity to administer both the MSP and the field test. Superintendents who would like to register their Priority, Focus, and/or Emerging school for Option C (double testing - MSP and Smarter Balanced) should email logan.endres@k12.wa.us by October 10. If you have questions, you should contact Andy Kelly.

One of our Intermediate schools is a "Focus" school. Is it required to take MSP this year or can they choose to take the Smarter Balanced pilot?
Per the letter dated 10/3/2013 from Andy Kelly, Assistant Superintendent, Student and School Success, Priority, Focus, and Emerging schools may administer only the field tests, only the MSP, or request the opportunity to administer both the MSP and the field test.

What is the impact is of testing in the field test and rolling forward scores for a third year when the two previous years the school has been in improvement status?
Each school’s impact of rolling scores forward will be slightly different and should be discussed with Andy Kelly at (360) 725-4960 or andy.kelly@k12.wa.us. Schools that have been working hard to make improvements may want to stay with the MSP to see the benefits of their efforts.

Do emerging schools gain an extra year of emerging school status and support (i.e., 3 to 4 years of support)? Are there any exceptions an emerging school needs to take into consideration?
Each school’s impact of rolling scores forward will be slightly different and should be discussed with Andy Kelly at (360) 725-4960 or andy.kelly@k12.wa.us.

Annual Measurable Objectives

How is a school districts’ AMO determined if a majority or a minority of the schools participate?
School and district AMO targets do not change for 2013-2014, regardless of field test participation. Proficiency rates for 2014 will be a repeat of 2013 for schools that field test in lieu of the MSP. 2014 proficiency rates (either from the 2014 MSP or repeated from the 2013 MSP) will be compared to the 2014 AMO targets. (note: MSP scores from 2014 will be used for accountability, even if the priority, focus or emerging school also participates in the field test)

Other Questions

Will interim assessments be available, or will students only take a summative field test in 2013-14?
The interim assessments will not be available until the 2014-15 school year.

We understand that on the field test, teachers/schools will not receive information on student performance. However, by using the Smarter Balanced benchmark assessments throughout 2013-14, wouldn’t we be able to track learning and instruction, and modify instruction to meet student learning needs?
No, Smarter Balanced interim assessments will not be available until fall 2014.

When will training/guidance be provided for Smarter Balanced equivalent of eDIRECT?
We do not yet have the date from Smarter Balanced, but training will occur well ahead of March 18.

Will the ELA test contain content and items that test students for skills other than English language arts and literacy?
The ELA items will contain content from various areas, including social studies and science. However, students will be demonstrating skills associated with the ELA Common Core State Standards, not the specific content or theme used in the test item. In other words, the ELA test will not attempt to measure knowledge in other content areas.

Regarding the writing component of the ELA field test, some students in grades 3, 5, 6 & 8, have not have been assessed in writing. Furthermore, the integration of writing and reading will be new to all students. What is your advice to schools and teachers?
The field test provides all students the opportunity to experience the new assessment items and format without any consequences. Participation in the field test is an excellent opportunity for students to become familiar with the new test and engine. In addition, teachers can be using the Smarter Balanced practice tests, available at http://sbac.portal.airast.org/practice-test/ to familiarize students with integrated ELA items.

How does a performance-task work?
Some of the performance task activities can be conducted in the regular classroom setting, before moving students to a computer lab.

For a student who has an IEP based on the MSP, will this have to be re-evaluated/reworded for the field test, or can the accommodations simply be transferred over?
IEP teams will need to review the Smarter Balanced accommodations guidelines and revise the IEP as necessary.

Is it true that on the MSP this year, there will only be items that assess Common Core?
No, the MSP is not based on Common Core State Standards.

 

 

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