Smarter Balanced Testing
Smarter Balanced Testing is one of the ways that the State Department of Education measures school progress (a report card for the school, if you will). Previously, the state used the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) test and the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). Both of those were paper tests that then were sent away to get scored.
The Smarter Balanced exam started three years ago; it is a much different type of test. First, it is an online test (not pencil and paper). Second, it is a Computer Adaptive Test, which means that that the test adjusts to the student. If the student misses several questions, the questions get easier. If the student keeps getting questions right, the questions keep getting harder. There is also a second section of the test, call the Performance Task (for both math and English). The Performance Task involves several steps, all linked to a common theme. There were two years of preliminary testing (not scored) followed by the test last year, which was scored. Juniors take the math and English; this year, sophomores will take the new science portion of the test. Students (and schools) are expected to improve over time and must have a 95% student completion rate.