A transformation is coming to the way Vermont educators determine what students know. "The smarter balance assessment is the next evolution of assessment," said Vt. Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca.
Right now students in grades 3 to 11 take the NECAPS, a standardized, paper-based test that measures reading, writing and math skills. That will change by the spring of 2015 when Vermont makes the move to the Smarter Balance computer-based assessment.
"We're using all the new technologies that are available to move testing into a new generation," said Michael Hock, the Education Department's Assessment Director.
In addition to testing reading, writing and math skills, the assessment will introduce listening and speaking components as well. And gone are the days of everyone getting the same list of questions-- those will change based on individual skill levels.
"Each of us is going to have different questions depending on our previous answer, so if I get a question wrong, my next question is a little easier, I get the next question right and it gets a little harder," Vilaseca said.
The Smarter Balance program is built on a common core group of skills and is slated to be used in 30 states. Hock said that overall the tests will be harder than the NECAPS and the standard to pass will be higher. An 11th grader looking for proficiency will need to demonstrate college level work. "Being proficient on the new test will be defined as students being ready to take and pass a credit bearing course in freshman year of college, so it is a higher standard and probably we are going to see test scores go down. I would love to be surprised, but they are higher standards," Hock said.
And the state's education secretary hopes the results are eventually linked to college admissions. "It can be high stakes enough so that it has meaning to them once they get out of high school so they can take that assessment seriously," Vilaseca said.
The test is being created and implemented with $180-million in federal funding. Students have one more year of the NECAPS before they will transition to the Smarter Balance.
Friday, April 18 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:04:40 GMT
A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road. Investigators say 63-year-old Eric Ladd was walking slipped and hitMore >>
A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:00:59 GMT
Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire. On Wednesday workers were doing spring clean-up at Wheelock park when they found a 55-gallon drumMore >>
Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:58:40 GMT
There's been a tragedy on the Burlington beltway Thursday night. Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltway. The name has been releasedMore >>
Burlington Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltline.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:08:04 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>