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California Smarter Balanced Assessments

Starting in late 2016, California will administer a computer based test to students in grades three through eight and eleven.  This test, named Smarter Balanced Assessments, is more aptly aligned with California’s demanding new testing program named: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or simply, CAASPP.

Instead of the previous paper based tests which included multiple choice answers, the new test will force students to use their analytical skills.  They will have to read and follow a story and determine logical reasoning (literacy skills) as well as solve real world math problems.  The change in testing was necessary due to California’s adoption of rigorous academic standards to prepare students for college and careers; California is promoting a higher than ever standard of teaching and learning.  If you hire any private tutors, make sure to clue them into the fact that you are concerned about your child doing well on this new test.

A lot of people may not understand the need to implement this new testing standard.  However, a lot of considerations were made before doing so. The first issue to consider was addressing the fact whether California students are being prepared for high school and beyond at an expected level.  Given that skill levels are always shifting to fulfill demands for various careers and the marketplace, these considerations are essential to consider.

The second great thing about the Smarter Balanced Assessments is that instead of allowing students to randomly select answers from multiple choices, this method of testing demands the students to analyze the question, draw conclusions, and solve questions in a real world way.  We know that this is essential for students; to think independently.

Third, this test is great in the sense that it includes support for students with special needs as well as English learners.  This test will give such students a fair opportunity to demonstrate their academic skill levels as well.

Fourth, the results from these tests will also provide feedback to the teachers in each district.  The results will reveal how students are performing collectively and if adjustments need to be made in subject matters and learning styles.  You can use this information to your child’s advantage by analyzing the results and considering if he or she needs private tutoring.

Since the tests will be taken online, the results will be available to students, teachers, the district, and the parents much more quickly than in the previous years.

These tests are designed to measure student progress over a period of time.

Something to keep in mind is that the Smarter Balanced Assessments are a new test being implemented.  From pilot testing, the only safe conclusion to be drawn is that most students will need to significantly improve their literacy and math skills, which is to be expected.

As it stands right now, the new test standards will only be implemented for Common Core Math and Common Core English, which are the two subjects that students most frequently struggle with. If you are concerned about your child’s test results, call REACH Pro Tutoring today to learn more about how good grades are within your REACH! 1-877-947-3224

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