In 2010, Idaho joined 28 other states in the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium to create a common, innovative assessment system for mathematics and English language arts that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and helps prepare students for college and careers. Although this new assessment will be called "The ISAT presented by Smarter-Balanced," it should not be confused with the previous multiple-choice exam.
The Smarter-Balanced Assessment (SBAC) is not a "one shot test" and includes:
- A summative exam, required by No Child Left Behind, with a retake option offered;
- Optional interim, or benchmark, exams given by your classroom teacher, and;
- A variety of formative tools, processes and practices for teachers to use in planning and implementing informal, ongoing assessments. This will assist teachers in understanding what students are and are not learning on a daily basis so they can adjust instruction accordingly. Based on the Consortium’s work, students will have the option to take interim exams, which provide guidance to teachers about instructional milestones. These interim tests, and multiple opportunities to take what are traditionally year-end summative exams, will move the testing process away from the traditional "one-size-fits-all" state exams. The goal is for students who score well on specific learning standards earlier in the school year not to be tested on those standards later on an end-of-the-year test because they’ve already demonstrated proficiency.What is the difference between last year’s test (ISAT) and the new test?
The biggest difference is the new assessment will be computer adaptive, which means when a student gets a question right, he or she gets a more difficult question. If another student gets the same question wrong, he or she is sent down a different questioning path. There are 50,000 questions in the Smarter Balanced bank and that will grow over time.
ISAT to SBAC Comparison
What happens in the 2014-2015 school year?
All students in grades 03-10 will take the operational test for the Smarter-Balanced Assessment in English Language Arts and Mathematics. A student can expect to be tested up to 6 hours to complete a performance task and computer-adaptive exam in both subjects. However, a student will not be taking all exams at the same time. They will be spaced out over several days in the testing window.
How are students expected to perform on the new assessments?
The Idaho State Department of Education expects the rate of proficiency to drop throughout the state as districts are setting a new bar with these higher standards.
How will the test be scored?
The exam will be scored mostly by computer with the essay questions scored by Idaho teachers. However, with this inclusion, there will not be immediate feedback, as was the case with ISAT. It is expected that results will be available within two weeks of submission.