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Friday, April 4, 2014

OPI Is Looking for Feedback on Smarter Balance--And I'm Wondering How Smarter Balance is Changing What You Teach

This post is not Montana history or place-based education or teaching with primary sources, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway. OPI is looking for classroom teachers’ and school administrators' feedback on their experience administrating the Smarter Balanced Field Test, so it has created a short online survey that includes the following four open-ended questions:

  • If you administered the all computer non-Performance Task (non-PT) portion of the test, please share your comments on the administration of the non-PT, all computer portion of the test.
  • If you administered a Performance Task (PT), please share your comments on the classroom activity and the administration of the PT portion of the online assessment.
  • Did you feel that you were adequately trained for the test administration?
    Please share your comments on the adequacy of the training that you received and any suggestions that you have for improving your preparation for administering the test.
  • What was your students’ response to the online assessment? Please share your comments.

The SBAC Teacher and Administrator Feedback Survey link is posted on the OPI webpage at http://opi.mt.gov/curriculum/MontCAS/.

On a related note, I’m wondering how Smarter Balance is affecting your classrooms in terms of the issues this blog deals with.

My sense is that the Common Core Standards, when implemented correctly, provide a great rationale for using primary sources, teaching students to analyze an author’s point of view, using inquiry, and many of the other things promoted by here. (You can see some of my pro-Common Core Posts here, and here. (Click on the tag "Common Core" at the bottom of this post for more.) But I also have the impression that anxiety about the assessment piece connected to the Common Core standards (Smarter Balance) may be shrinking opportunities for students to conduct real research or engage in place-based learning. I’d be interested in how this dynamic is playing out in your district. Email your comments to mkohl@mt.gov and I will collate them (without including names or other identifying information) to share.

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