Give Your Feedback on the DRAFT Recommendations for Smarter Balanced 11th Grade Assessment

Please read and provide feedback (see below for two ways to do so) on the DRAFT recommendations for use of the Smarter Balanced 11th Grade Assessment.

A cross-sector work group representing a variety of key education stakeholder groups convened in early November to draft system recommendations regarding the use of the Smarter Balanced 11th grade assessment as an indicator of college readiness in the placement process for post-secondary institutions in Washington.  Although the Smarter Balanced 11th grade assessment is NOT a placement test, these recommendations are intended to be incorporated into the ongoing system-wide efforts to provide students with multiple/alternative measures for placement.

The deadline for questions and suggestions is April 1st, and, as the recommendations are intended to represent a single consensus position for all public higher education institutions (2- and 4-year) in Washington, your feedback will help the work group refine and clarify the draft recommendations.

You have two options for providing feedback:

  1. Review the recommendations and provide general comments via the Washing Core to College Project website
  2. Provide more targeted and specific feedback through an online survey

Timeline

The system policy work group will reconvene in April to finalize the recommendations and share them again with key system groups, with a goal of getting approval from CTC presidents and baccalaureate provosts by June 2014.

A Few Points of Interest/Specificity

  1. The recommendations apply only to matriculated students, i.e., the Smarter Balanced 11th grade assessment scores will not be formally considered as part of baccalaureate admissions decisions. The scores will be taken into consideration as additional evidence included in the holistic review process.
  2. The recommendations are intended to provide a common foundational agreement that would apply to entering students across all public institutions of higher education in Washington, but at their own discretion institutions could offer more flexibility to students.

Overall Rationale

  • The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent a critical shift in state standards for K-12 students, setting consistent, high, research-based expectations for all students anchored in a clear vision of the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in first-year college courses and post-secondary professional-technical programs. Successful statewide implementation of the CCSS will increase significantly the college readiness of Washington high school graduates and reduce their need for pre-college work in higher education (ultimately saving money for both students and colleges).
    • The use of the Smarter Balanced 11th grade scores in higher education as a meaningful indicator of college readiness will help encourage students to meet the standards. Incorporating these scores into ongoing efforts to improve placement processes provides real advantages over existing testing alternatives:
      • Cost. The test will be taken by all high school juniors and funded as part of the K-12 state assessment system.
      • Variety and Level of Expectations. Students will encounter new item types, computer-enhanced items, many more constructed-response items, and performance tasks that ask them to write and to use a broad array of knowledge and skills to solve complex real-world problems.
      • Transparency and Ownership. The test has been designed and will be overseen through the Smarter Balanced consortium of states with ongoing input from hundreds of teachers, higher education faculty, state content specialists and testing experts. The key documents describing the assessment are all available to the public on the Smarter Balanced website.

Rationale for Specific Recommendations

Students at College-Ready Levels (4 and 3)

  • Projected top third (10% in level 4) of students on assessment: generally on track for baccalaureate institutions, taking English and math/quantitative reasoning courses in senior year
  • Level 3 contingencies (Math): uncertainty about preparation for STEM pathway in math without assurance of advanced math in senior year
  • Level 3 contingencies (English): confidence that these students would maintain English literacy skills over time period involved

Students Not Yet College-Ready (Levels 2 and 1)

  • Level 2 contingency: Some portion of these students (representing an anticipated ~40% of students on assessment) could enroll in college-readiness transition courses: successful completion would ensure no remediation or additional testing at college entry
  • No contingency available for students in level 1

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