Common Core Assessment Piloting Begins
2/21/2013 8:23:06 AM
The SBAC Pilot test will be administered to students in grades 3–11 in select classrooms across the country. Through the Pilot Test, Smarter Balanced will gather information about the performance of assessment items and the test delivery system under real-world conditions.
The Pilot Test is voluntary. To ensure that data from the Pilot Test fully represents the Consortium, approximately 10 percent of schools in Smarter Balanced Governing States were recruited as a scientific sample. Schools not selected as part of the scientific sample may volunteer to participate through an online survey.
NEW SBAC IT Newsletter
2/9/2013 10:24:55 PM
Staff from TechSETS and the San Diego County Office of Education have compiled a a newsletter that reviewes the basics of what technologies will be needed for the oncoming Common Core State Standards. Access the newsletter by clicking her...
Network Bandwidth Checker Available for Schools
12/18/2012 12:04:18 PM
Smarter Balanced has launched an online tool to help schools check the bandwidth of their network in preparation for the assessments. The bandwidth checker is compatible with Mozilla Firefox on computers with Windows, OS X, or Linux operating systems; Safari on tablets using the iOS operating system; and Chrome on tablets using the Android operating system. The bandwidth checker cannot be accessed using Internet Explorer. T
Smarter Balanced Releases Technology Strategy Framework and System Requirements Specifications
12/4/2012 8:51:53 AM
Technology Strategy Framework and System Requirements Specifications
Visit the SBACK technology requirements page for hardware and OS inforgraphic and specifications Q&A
Reporting System Contract
11/28/2012 7:26:21 PM
Smarter Balanced announced the award of a contract to Wireless Generation to develop an online, open source solution for reporting student results from its assessments. The Smarter Balanced reporting system will provide teachers, administrators, parents, and students with actionable information about student progress toward college and career readiness. Click here to read more...
District Makes Shift to Computer-Based Testing
11/5/2012 9:32:13 AM
To meet a new state requirement for computer-based testing, Palm Beach County, Fla., school officials say they will need to spend about $12 million to ensure their schools have 25,000 computers by 2015. Officials say they are in talks with Dell, Intel and Microsoft to donate an additional $7 million worth of computers, and officials also are hoping the federal government will provide some support through the Title I program. Read more...
Common Core State Standards Official Identifiers and XML Representation
10/31/2012 7:38:36 PM
As states, territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity move from widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to implementation, there is a need to appropriately identify and link assets using a shared system of identifiers and a common XML representation. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), working closely with the standards authors, have released an official, viable approach for publishing identifiers and XML designation to represent the standards, consistent with their adopted format. Read more...
Pilot Test Information
10/30/2012 10:17:02 AM
Smarter Balanced will conduct a Pilot Test of the assessment system beginning in February 2013. The Pilot Test will include items and performance tasks currently under development and will provide information about how these items and tasks perform in a real-world setting. Participation in the Pilot Test will be open to all schools in the Consortium and will include students from grades three through eight and grade eleven. Additional information about how to participate in the Pilot Test will be made available in early November 2012.
Sample CAT Items Now Available for Review
10/11/2012 11:52:33 AM
The sample items and tasks can be viewed by grade band (grades 3-5, 6-8, and high school) or content focus. They showcase the variety of item types—including technology-enhanced items and performance tasks—that will be included in the Smarter Balanced assessment system. In addition, items illustrating the connections across grades within the CCSS—as well as the range of student achievement within a computer adaptive test—are also available. Most constructed-response and technology-enhanced items can be scored automatically, and many items include downloadable scoring rubrics.
Click here for the English language arts/literacy sample items and performance tasks.
Click here for the mathematics sample items and performance tasks.
SBAC Technology Readiness Tool Spring 2012 Summary
9/24/2012 3:17:06 PM
A statewide summary of the information collected by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Technology Readiness Tool for the Spring 2012 data collection window is now avaiable for your review. The information summarizes some of the data elements collected by the TRT for California Schools. Click here for the data...
Small Scale Trials
9/18/2012 8:16:19 PM
This fall, SBAC will be conducting small scale trials of new assessment items in a sample of schools across member states. The small scale trials will inform automated and human scoring for SBAC assessments and will help SBAC prepare for pilot testing early next year. Approximately 225 schools in California have been randomly selected by SBAC to participate in these trials, and the superintendents of districts with selected schools were notified last week. Each selected school will be asked to have one classroom of grade 4, 7, or 11 students participate. Selected districts and schools are encouraged to participate in this important research which provides California educators and students the opportunity to be directly involved in SBAC assessment development activities. While the small scale trials will be conducted in a limited number of schools, all interested schools will have the opportunity to participate in the spring pilot tests.
SBAC to Offer Long and Short Versions of Common Core Tests
9/17/2012 9:00:41 AM
Reporter Catherine Gewertz states SBAC "...will offer a choice of a longer and a shorter version [of the tests]" Click here to read her article...
See Samples of Common Core Test Technology Enhanced Items
9/11/2012 10:49:42 AM
Download the ZIP file. Click on the top folder entitled movies to find sample English language arts and mathematics technology enhanced items.
Test Delivery System Contract Awarded
9/6/2012 2:51:33 PM
SBAC has awarded the American Institutes for Research (AIR) the contract for developing an open source solution for delivering the Consortium’s online, computer adaptive summative and interim assessments to students. Find out more...
Quality Assurance Approach
9/4/2012 9:33:24 AM
This document focuses on giving guidance to the consortium on the types of challenges that they will face with respect to QA, and recommendations on how to best approach those challenges. This document, while not a testing strategy itself, presents a case for the importance of a testing strategy. This document outlines some of the key components of a good testing strategy and makes recommendations for the Smarter Balanced assessment system.
New Accessibility and Accommodations Materials Available Soon
8/20/2012 6:55:45 PM
Two new documents produced as part of SBAC Contract-06 Accessibility and Accommodations Policies and Materials will soon be available. Literature Review of Testing Accommodations and Accessibility Tools for Students with Disabilities and Summary of Literature on Empirical Studies of the Validity and Effectiveness of Test Accommodations for English Language Learners: 2005–2012 were developed to guide SBAC’s accessibility and accommodations policy development. The documents will be posted publicly on the SBAC site shortly.
New Hardware Purchasing Guideline
6/18/2012 4:54:57 PM
SBAC released a new guidline in June which includes iPads (with iOS 6).
iOS6 and SBAC Testing
6/12/2012 8:53:38 AM
At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, a new feature was announced as part of the iOS6 release known as Guided Access. Guided Access is expected to address both user accessibility and testing needs when Apple's mobile devices are used in schools. Click here to read the article...
Here is Apple's page on Guided Access...
Higher Education Architecture Review Board (ARB) Members Named
5/29/2012 8:27:38 PM
The ARB oversees modifications to the IT Systems Architecture, and makes recommendations regarding technology standards. The ARB comprises state K-12 and higher education representatives, as well as members of the Consortium’s Technology Approach Work Group. The following new ARB members were selected as higher education representatives:
o Bonnie Edwards (CA) – Senior Information Systems Analyst, CA Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
o Xiaobing Hou (CT) – Assistant Professor, Central Connecticut State University
o Martin Horejsi (MT) – Associate Professor of Instructional Technology, University of Montana
o Richard Halverson (WI) – Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin–Madison
RFP 15 Closes
5/24/2012 11:08:17 AM
On May 23rd, RFP 15 (Development the Reporting System for the Summative and Interim Assessments) closed. The purpose of this RFP is to develop and implement the Reporting System for the Smarter Balanced Summative and Interim Assessments. The project includes all aspects of producing the requirements, development, and implementation of the summative and interim reports, reporting application, data warehouse, data aggregation services, and analytics tools for the beta test and Field Test. The RFP includes ongoing hosting, maintenance, and turnover of the reporting system to the post-2014 vendor.
To access the content of the RFP, click here...
Data Collection Window Extended
5/21/2012 1:31:15 PM
The first data collection window for the Technology Readiness Tool has been extended to June 30, 2012 (11:59 p.m. Hawaiian time). This extension was made at the request of states and will allow districts more time to submit data following the end of the school year. After the window closes, the data will be extracted, cleaned, and incorporated into a report regarding a technology plan and support for legacy operating systems (expected to be completed August 2012). Please be aware that the tool will remain open for subsequent data edits in preparation for the second data collection window anticipated in September 2012.
Utah Withdraws Position from SBAC
5/10/2012 2:35:30 PM
The state of Utah is withdrawing as an SBAC governing state but remaining in SBAC: Letter from Judy Park of the Utah State Office of Education...
New RFI: Assessment of Available Hardware and Operating Systems
4/30/2012 9:12:06 PM
On April 25th, the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction released a new RFI on behalf of SBAC. The purpose of this RFI is to acquire information about the combination of hardware and operating systems that currently are present in school districts; currently available for school districts to purchase; and may be available in the near future for school districts to purchase, that can provide the functions required for the administration of the Smarter Balanced summative assessments that yield valid and comparable scores across member states. Click here for the RFI document...
Purchasing Guidelines RELEASED
4/26/2012 1:16:12 PM
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) today issued guidance designed to inform schools and districts as they make annual instructional technology purchases. The guidelines include hardware and operating system specifications covering the vast majority of commercially available computers and tablets. To access the SBAC issued FAQs regarding the guidlines, click here...
IT Readiness Google+ Hangout
4/23/2012 2:44:58 PM
On May 1st (10am to 11am), TechSETS is hosting a Google+ Hangout—an informal, small group, web-conference regarding the IT Readiness Tool (Common Core Computer Adaptive Testing initiative). No PowerPoint. No presenter. Just education technology professionals in discussion. If you’re interested in participating, here’s the link to sign up…
You will need a Google+ account. Here's a link to start your account. Here's a link to a short video that explains Google+ Hangouts. Space is limited to the first eight registrants.
CDE-Authored SBAC IT Readiness Tool FAQs
4/18/2012 6:12:37 PM
The CDE released a set of FAQs regarding the IT Readiness Tool. Click here to review...
Post-grant Sustainability Options
4/17/2012 8:09:25 PM
SBAC has released to vendors the Sustainability Task Force RFP for a consultant to provide post-grant options on how states will procure, administer, and maintain the assessment system after the federal grant ends. Click here for the RFP...
Artificial Intelligence Technology
4/17/2012 8:05:12 PM
SBAC intends to make use of automated scoring technologies to the extent practicable for constructed-response items and parts of performance tasks (with back-reading and validation of a sample of items and tasks by teachers). To find out more about the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation funded initiative, click here...
CDE Gearing Up for Data Collection Process
4/17/2012 7:58:31 PM
CCSESA's Technology & Telecommunications Steering Committee (TTSC) is working with CTAP (Califoria Technology Assistance Project) to support the CDE as it gears up for the now open, statewide data collection process (IT readiness) by assembling a list of contact information for CA school district IT leads. An extensive list of contacts was compiled and submitted to the CDE this morning. CDE is now in the process of generating usier IDs (via Pearson) so districts may access the IT Readiness Tool.
Architectural Review Board Members UPDATED
4/17/2012 7:33:35 PM
The following is a list of the members that comprise the Architectural Review Board (ARB). This board oversees further development of the IT systems architecture and makes recommendations regarding technology standards to the SBAC Executive Committee throughout the development of the assessment system. The ARB is comprised of state K-12 and higher education representatives, as well as members of the Consortium’s Technology Approach Work Group.
Karl Buchanan, Wasatch District IT Director, Wasatch School District, Utah
Glenn Gorton, IT Client Services Director, Michigan Department of Education
Josh Klein, Chief Information Officer, Oregon Department of Education
Rodney Okamoto, California Department of Education
Brenda Williams, Division Lead, Superintendent’s Office, Office of Technology, West Virginia Department of Education
David Wu, Assistant Superintendent, Hawaii Department of Education
Jason Young, Data Manager—Longitudinal Data Systems, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
John Fleischman, Assistant Superintendent of Technology Services, Sacramento County Office of Education, Sacramento, California
Phil Emer, Director of Technology Planning and Policy, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, North Carolina State University
IT Systems Architecture iPad Application
4/13/2012 10:38:18 AM
SBAC has released an iPad application that provides the most recent IT Systems Architecturural Plan for CAT delivery (i.e. updated plan). It requires iOS 5. The application may be downloaded DIRECTLY to your iPad by directing the iPad browser to http://ocap.ps/mp-sbac-install . You will be required to create or use an existing Dropbox account to access the installer. The installer will also require a password which is SBAC (all caps). Note the app is not installed via the iTunes store. It is a direct install by way of appinstaller.heroku.com.
Updates to the IT systems architecutre will be provided via the iPad application. For more information on downloading the iPad app, click here...
Technology Readiness Reporting
4/4/2012 2:33:41 PM
It was determined that both consortia need baseline data from districts and schools to help determine the minimum requirements for technology. Therefore, the first data collection window will be a technology readiness inventory. Data collection summaries will be available. These reports will help improve data quality and to inform the two consortia regarding which types of hardware and operating systems are currently being used in schools.
CAT and the Common Core California Standards
4/4/2012 2:38:01 PM
The following article appeared in the November 2011 issue of the TechSETS eNewsletter. The information is only based on a cursory analysis of the public RFP.
There are many trends in education IT nowadays--virtualization, cloud computing, Single-Sign-On, mobile computing device management, online learning, etc... A topic that hasn't quite gotten onto the radar yet is related to the Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) that will be a requirement for those of us who are working with the Common Core Standards. Not much is known about what's in store for the IT shops at school districts when it comes to the CAT. So here are a few points we've been able to dig up.
Those of us who are a part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will be provided with what is being referred to as "an online dynamic and interactive technology readiness tool to support technology transitions and implementation". The idea is that districts will be able to use a tool to evaluate their technology infrastructure in terms of readiness to implement the new assessment system and identify strategies to update their technology based on gaps identified. The tool will include evaluation tools and processes for analyzing:
Existing rules and policies in place
Districts' infrastructures (hardware, software)
Staffing size and deployment preparedness
SIS as it relates to the data required for the new assessment process
The tool will assess memory, processor speed, storage space, and operating system of all internet-connected devices that would be available for assessment. It will also need to support a tracking metric that best measures Internet availability (e.g. a percentage of classrooms, labs, and libraries with access to the Internet). Further, the tool will estimate the maximum capacity for the Internet connection a school/district provides (i.e. throughput or number of simultaneous devices that could be assessing) for both hardwired and wireless systems. In addition to the internal metric, the tool will provide a tracking metric of the percentage of devices that connected to the LAN server as well as to determine the capacity of the LAN. This means the tool will be able to evaluate LAN servers on multiple platforms (including virtual platforms) and collect information on the security protocols currently in place.
So, the tool will not only measure the device capacity of a district, it will also measure districts' LAN infrastructure (Intranet) as well as the Internet capacities. What's more, the tool will track the percentage of sites that meet minimum network bandwidth requirements and provide guidance and warning of the minimum network bandwidth requirements based on site-specific parameters to support assessment activities. So, throughout the day, the tool will be taking multiple snapshots to provide robust estimates given varying amounts of competing traffic.
Lastly, if we’ve read the RFP correctly, the tool will provide measurements indicating adequate allocation of technical staff to support the build out and maintenance of the technical infrastructure (including the collection of contact information for the technical staff). But what is most interesting is that the tool will assess attributes that measure the effectiveness of how computers are organized in relation to a school's or a district's population, giving IT Directors more valuable information than the simple division of the number oWe’re still reviewing the RFP and will get more out as we can (e.g the readiness reporting features, the modular integration process, flexibility to address systems enhancements that require changes in technology, etc...).
Common Core Assessment System Architecture and Technology
4/4/2012 2:36:27 PM
The following article appeared in the February 2012 issue of the TechSETS eNewsletter.
On January 20, 2012 Measure Progress published a comprehensive report regarding phase 1 of the enterprise architecture development of the Common Core standards assessment system. The report outlined the architectural and technological system requirements as well as some recommendations for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The prime purpose of the document is to provide the necessary frameworks and context that application architects will need to build a cohesive software system of applications that efficiently work together to attain the system’s goals.
The report discusses the assessment life cycle which is designed to include any type of assessment and take into account the iterative nature of assessments. This cycle includes six over-arching categories broken down into sub-processes. As the report continues, it lays out the high level system components which fall into one of three logical groupings –Assessment Creation & Management, Assessment Delivery, andAssessment Reporting. These logical components all support a set of shared services that create a cohesive system for the end user which the application architects will be providing for school districts such as:
A portal with Single-Sign-On (SSO) entry and authentication
Program Management (master data repository service)
Standards metadata management for learning and ontology (manages the standards and other data for other components within the system to reference; AKA single version of truth)
A digital library (interactive teacher professional development tool)
Monitoring and alerting systems
One of the main challenges in the Enterprise Architecture of the assessment system has to do with identifier management. The issue is that the assessment system will need to integrate with other systems, (e.g. state systems, SIS, etc…). In many instances, identifier codes from differing systems refer to the same object. Legacy systems have mistakenly used identifiers like SSN or reused identifiers which can cause systems that rely on identifiers many problems. Therefore the Identifier Management component will need to store a mapping between the SBAC and non-SBAC identifiers so that the SBAC components can rely on their own identifiers and be managed in a single, centralized location.
The assessment system will also utilize multi-tenancy and partitioning in its design to implement flexibility in deployment from the consortium to the classroom. This design provides the system with the ability for a single instance of a component to host data pertaining to multiple tenants (e.g. a test delivery system instance is hosted at the group-of-states level but serves our instance here in California).
IT Readiness Tool
Pearson has been contracted to develop an IT Readiness Tool which will assess current capacity and compares to the technology that is expected to be required for the new Common Core assessments (including devices, devices to tester ratio, network infrastructure, and staff/personnel. It will also perform a gap analysis and recommend areas where districts will need to upgrade their technologies. The CDE, in partnership with TechSETS as well as other organizations (e.g. TTSC, TICAL, CTAP) will be responsible for supporting the transition to the new assessment system.
of the CDE has been identified as California’s IT Readiness Coordinator. Beginning in the spring, a series of data pertaining to the technology readiness tool parameters will be collected from the districts. This will include:
Device specification data (e.g. Monitor/display sizes, operating systems, wireless connections, etc…)
Device-to-Tester data (e.g. number of devices, etc…)
Network infrastructure data (e.g. Internet bandwidth, estimated network utilization, number of wireless access points, etc…)
Staff & personnel data (e.g. categories of concerns)
The first data collection window will be from March 20-June 14. Subsequent data collections will occur each spring and fall through 2014.
IT Readiness Tool Webinar
4/4/2012 2:34:30 PM
Last Thursday, the IT Readiness Tool pilot districts participated in a CDE webinar. The CDE SBAC staff provided background information and a brief demo of the IT Readiness Tool. Data collection parameters include computer device specifications, device-to-tester readiness, network infrastructure information, and staff & personnel readiness. The window for the pilot test is March 20 through April 6
TTSCs SBAC Subcommittee Contact information
4/4/2012 2:26:25 PM
At the TTSC meeting last Thursday, a few additions were made to the SBAC subcommittee membership. For a complete contact list, click here...
CDE Announces Assessment Transition Plan Development
4/4/2012 2:30:25 PM
In its CCSS Systems Implementation Plan for California and purusant to Assembly Bill 250, the CDE has announced an assessment transition plan to be developed in collaboration with stakeholders. The plan will be presented to state legislator in November of 2012.
TTSCs SBAC Subcommittee
4/4/2012 2:31:21 PM
California County Superintendents Educational Services Association’s (CCSESA) Technology and Telecommunications Steering Committee (TTSC) has formed a subcommittee. This subcommittee will serve and support TTSC’s general membership with information and guidance related to SBAC relative to the implementation of computer adaptive testing in California. The subcommittee members will:
Exchange SBAC technology-related information as well as coordinate activities and provide communication updates to the California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP) regional offices, the Statewide Education Technology Services (SETS) offices, California’s Education Technology Professionals’ Association (CETPA) and the Computer Using Educators (CUE) association.
Coordinate and support CDE with the implementation and ongoing use of the IT Readiness Tool. The subcommittee is co-chared by John Fleischman of Sacramento County Office of Education and Steve Clemons of San Diego County Office of Education.
The subcommittee members include: