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Testing… Testing… Testing… The Details Behind the SBAC

computerized testThis year our 3rd through 8th graders in Washoe County School District  are taking the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium). This test was designed through the collaborative efforts of 21 states including Nevada to align to the Common Core Standards (CCS) in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. The SBAC is a computerized test and is our state CRT (Criterion Reference Test).

Unlike past CRTs, this test is no longer paper-pencil and is fully aligned to CCS vs. previous years Nevada State Standards. Nevada has now fully adopted the CCS now referred to as NVACS (NV Academic Content Standards). Students will demonstrate their knowledge of these standards through a computerized adaptive test CAT and performance tasks. The CAT test in math and ELA adapt by one grade level below or can increase in complexity based on a student’s response. CAT responses are multiple choice, fill in the blank or short answer. Additionally, students will participate in a performance task in ELA and math which is multi-step and written. These performance tasks are tied to a classroom activity the day prior.

What is the test used for?

This new test is more rigorous and longer. Instead of just multiple choice response and short answer, our students need to respond in a variety of written formats. We use the data from our state assessments to determine if a student is at grade level and/or demonstrating growth. Based on the data from these tests we can plan instruction, interventions or enrichment. Additionally, this data is used to determine a school’s status and star rating; including student participation rates.

Although these tests are new and challenging for our students we are hopeful that the data we receive will be beneficial for future planning. For more information regarding this test you can go to this website: NevadaReady.gov

Do you have questions or concerns about the SBAC test?  Leave a comment on this post or on the link to this post on Facebook with your questions and we will seek answers from educators in the field.

nichole truaxNichole Truax is a native Nevadan, born and raised in the Silver State.  She grew up in Sparks attending elementary, middle and high school.  After graduating high school, she attend St. Mary’s College of California where she graduated with a BS in Business and Accounting. She moved back to Reno and after a short career in business, she decided to go back to school to attain a teaching credential from Sierra Nevada College.  Nichole taught secondary social studies in middle and high school, during which she attained a master’s degree in administration from University of Phoenix.  Soon after she went into school administration working as a high school dean, middle school assistant principal and now services as an elementary principal (PreK-6th).  Again returning to school during her work as an administrator, she received a doctorate degree from the University of LaVerne in Organizational Leadership.  Overall, Nichole has been in education for 18+ years including time served as a college instructor in teacher education programs at TMCC and UOP.  Her most recent accomplishment is writing a children’s book/early reader, “Amazing Mom.”  Although a career as an elementary school principal keeps her busy, she always finds time to spend with her 6 year old son (Karter), husband (Kevin) and golden retriever (Jessie); enjoying outdoor activities.


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