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Assessment

Smarter Balanced Reports Student Views on Field-Test Accommodations

By Christina A. Samuels — November 05, 2014 1 min read

About two-thirds of students who offered their opinions about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium field tests said the built-in accommodations—such as calculators, highlighting tools, and zoom—were easy to use.

However, about a quarter to a third of the responding students said had never used any, or only one, of the built-in supports before test day. According to a report released last week by the consortium, every student will have to become familiar with all the tools by the spring of 2015, when the common-core-aligned tests will be used for accountability purposes.

The report is not a scientific sample of students and states that participated in the field tests. Instead, it identifies major themes that emerged from individual surveys developed by 13 of the 22 members of the consortium. Feedback was gathered from 19,600 students and 4,946 adults (who include administrators, classroom teachers and proctors and test coordinators).

The built-in accommodations and supports are of particular interest to students with disabilities. The report did not dive into the comments around specific accommodations, but it did find that 67 percent of students in five states found the test “easy” or “very easy” to use. The report concluded that students should be given opportunities to become familiar with the testing platform, “so that the final results describe students’ knowledge and skill rather than their familiarity with the test format.”

My colleague, Catherine Gewertz, has pulled out some additional snippets of interesting information from the report in her blog, Curriculum Matters.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.