A Critical Milestone
The Smarter Balanced Pilot Test marks an important milestone in the development of a next-generation assessment system, allowing the Consortium to gather information about the performance of assessment items and the test delivery system under real-world conditions. Data from the Pilot Test will allow Smarter Balanced to conduct initial scaling that will be used to program the adaptive test engine.
The Pilot Test will be conducted in grades 3-11 in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. While the Pilot Test will be administered online, it will not be computer adaptive as the operational assessment will be in 2014-15. Prior to taking the Pilot Test, students will have the opportunity to take a training test to become familiar with the format of the assessment.
The Pilot Test is designed to be a test of the items and performance tasks—not an opportunity to report on student learning—and schools participating in the Pilot Test will not receive student scores.
Developed with Input from Educators and Students
K-12 teachers and higher education faculty from Smarter Balanced Governing States collaborated with content experts to write and review items and performance tasks that appear in the Pilot Test. In addition, Smarter Balanced conducted more than 900 cognitive labs around the country in 2012. Through these one-on-one sessions, students provided valuable feedback on innovative item types, the test interface, and accessibility features. Small-scale trials in more than 500 schools in 23 states also provided critical information for the development of the Pilot Test.
Sample Design and School Participation
The Pilot Test is voluntary, and all schools in Smarter Balanced member states are encouraged to participate. To ensure that data from the Pilot Test fully represents the Consortium, approximately 10 percent of schools in Smarter Balanced Governing States will be recruited as a scientific sample.
- Scientific Sample Pilot (February 20-May 24): Schools recruited as part of the scientific sample will administer one content area (either mathematics or English language arts/literacy) in up to two grades. Although the assessment is untimed, it is expected to last approximately three hours. The test will take place during a pre-determined two-week window under secure conditions. Schools will have access to training, help desk support, and technical guidance. If your school is participating in the scientific sample portion of the Pilot Test, you can find more information about the training and administration of the Pilot Test at the Smarter Balanced Pilot Test Portal.
If your school is participating in the scientific sample portion of the Pilot Test, you can find more information about the training and administration of the Pilot Test at the Smarter Balanced Pilot Test Portal.
- Practice Test (Available beginning in late May): Due to the overwhelming demand for access to the Volunteer Pilot assessment from principals, teachers, parents, and the public, Smarter Balanced has decided to release a more complete and more broadly available “practice test.” Like the planned Volunteer Pilot, the Practice Test will allow students to experience items that look and function like those found on the Scientific Pilot. The Practice Test will also include performance tasks (not previously planned for the Volunteer Pilot), and will be constructed to follow a test blueprint similar to the blueprint intended for the operational test. With the Practice Test, teachers will be able to construct simulated assessment events for their students. Additionally, online access to the Practice Test will not require a unique username and password, meaning that schools and districts can use the Practice Test for professional development activities and for discussions with parents, policymakers, and other interested stakeholders.
- The Practice Test will provide:
- administrators and parents with access to items planned and designed for the new assessment;
- students with access to the tests over the summer, with the Practice Test being accessible right up to the rollout of the operational assessment
- a full array of item types, including performance tasks;
- versions supporting several accommodations:
- Item-level pop-up Spanish glossaries for construct-irrelevant terms (mathematics only)
- American Sign Language (ASL)