By Anne Mead
Late winter and early spring bring testing for children throughout the nation. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test measures what children know and how they get the answers, and scores focus on what students need to know. The test has opportunities throughout to make it harder for those children who are succeeding or make it easier for those who are struggling. The SBAC test gives quicker results compared with other tests that in previous years took months to receive the results.
Prior to digging into the specifics and the importance of students taking the test, one must understand how Common Core Standards (CCS) are implemented in the classroom. CCS were developed to close the achievement gap between groups of students and to foster education equity. Equity means that ALL children learn the same items.
CCS emphasize the development of real life skills through the use of consistent guidelines on what a child should be able to do in math and English from Kindergarten through 12th grade. CCS ensure that students will develop their full potential in reading, writing, math, critical thinking skills, problem-solving and analytical skills. For a short video on CCS, go to www.corestandards.org/what-paeants-should-know/.
Whether your child is heading off to college or to the trade fields, a full set of skills gained during his or her school years are required to be successful in the 21st Century. Thus, testing tracks your student’s ability to attain these critical skills is significant if your child is to achieve their dreams.
CCS set high standards and coupled with the SBAC tests, they help support teachers and educational staff to carefully examine and evaluate existing and proposed systems, policies, procedures and practices that impact all student groups.
The SBAC acts as a quality control to ensure that all students receive a quality education in addition to developing the personal-social skills needed to be successful.
Why is it important that my child take these tests? All students deserve to receive an excellent education based on sound practices. The SBAC test enables administrators and teaching staff to design teaching that supports its students in the most effective way possible. The Danbury Public Schools’ Instructional Developmental Team engages in a cycle of data analysis from the SBAC tests, goal setting, action planning and refinement that enhances the capacity of our district to improve adult practice and student outcomes. Changes in teacher behavior based on feedback from the SBAC test and self-reflection are foundational to making changes in teaching pedagogy that supports all children. Teachers must be credited for the hard work of changing adult teaching behaviors in the best interest of children. Therefore, every student score is important!! As Danbury Public Schools change the behaviors of teaching staff to better prepare their students, having your child’s test scores as part of the data enables all children to be represented in the District’s quest for the development of successful students.
Anne E. Mead, M. Ed. is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.