SBAC Tests are A Benchmark of Student Learning
The results are in from the first round of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests in Orange and school administrators are pleased. The SBAC took the place of the CMTs in math and English last year as a test that was more closely aligned with the Common Core Standards of teaching. The CMT is still given in science.
District Administrator Kai Byrd explained the results at a board of education meeting, noting that the tests are not optional and the district is required to test students in third through sixth grades in math, English and science. “We do assessments to help us get information about student growth, knowledge and skills,” she said. “Understand that this is an annual snapshot – and I emphasize a snapshot in time. This is not the sole determining factor that we use to assess our students, it’s not where we hang our hat here in Orange.”
Reports were sent to parents on October 9 with an explanation of what the results mean. The tests are computer adaptive and based on a student’s response, subsequent questions may be more or less challenging. Unlike the multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank tests of the past, the SBACs have performance tasks that measure a student’s ability to apply knowledge to a complex task using their analytical skills. “It gives us important information that we find useful to form our instruction and what we do with our children in the classroom, but this number that you see is not the only thing that defines our children of Orange,” Byrd said.
Superintendent of Schools Vince Scarpetti said the district’s goal is for the majority of students to reach Level 3 and Level 4 in all areas. Between 62% and 87% of Orange students reached Levels 3 and 4 in the tests that were given last year. Between 37% and 59% of the state’s students are at Level 3 and up. “District-wide at all areas, we superseded the state’s averages in ELA and also in math,” he said. “We are 16 out of 196 schools in ELA and 17 of 196 in math and that speaks volumes,” Scarpetti said.
Board of Education Member Deanna Pucillo said, “It is a baseline, but it’s an unbelievable baseline. Kudos to our students. Our teachers, administrators and Director of Curriculum really deserve a round of applause for implementing this curriculum.”
“It’s the perseverance, it’s teaching kids to not give up, really think, think outside the box and try multiple solutions to get at something,” said Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone. “This is a big uphill climb for everyone.”
Teachers do not receive individual student scores, only feedback on areas of knowledge and skills to allow them to focus on improvements where they are needed.
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent