Smarter Balanced Testing - Fall Retakes are Here

  • High School
Mary Moser

In the whirlwind of school letting out for the summer, Washington budgets and McCleary movement, you may have missed the passage of ESHB 2224.  It’s mainly a bill that affects us secondary folks, really high schools.  Though it’s passage is a few months old, the exact nature of what will happen next has not been hammered out completely by OSPI, SBE, et al.

Last night, I was sitting with a colleague and mentioned that I was in full testing mode for the upcoming November Smarter Balanced Fall re-takes, trying to figure out the schedule and least impact to student and teacher and building while still providing each student an equitable experience and chance at passing their tests.  My colleague’s befuddled look told me that they didn’t know what testing window I was talking about.  Though at a different building, I can only imagine their testing will look a bit similar to my building’s SBA testing.  Especially when it comes to math.  But, our retakes definitely look different than last year or the previous year due to ESHB 2224.

385 11th and 12th graders taking Math SBA262 11th and 12th graders taking ELA SBA.

Get Informed

People often compliment me on my knowledge and begrudgingly sustain my questions when it comes to the minutia of things like state testing.  I’ll tell you it comes from reading and consuming information as it’s available.

Some places to grab knowledge:

What’s Changed with Testing? My Fast Takeaways

  • Accountability is now set with 10th grade for ELA and math and 11th grade for science whereas accountability used to be 11th grade ELA and math.
  • EOC Biology is gone. Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) takes its place.  Starting with the class of 2019 (this year’s juniors), schools will place federal accountability with this test.  Starting with the class of 2021 (this year’s 9th grade), it will also be a graduation test.
  • State Board of Education has until December 2018 to set a new accountability score for SBA ELA and math, which will be based upon a 10th grader sitting for an 11th grade leveled test (SBA). This score probably will be higher than a graduation cut score (which also is negotiable) and lower than a level 3 (current passing rate for 11th graders). They are already working on this.
  • ELA Performance Task will require proctor approval to move from Part 1 to Part 2 now.
  • Mention in the legislative bill that that students wanting a higher score on SBA that have hit required scores will have to pay. I haven’t seen this brought up yet in other places.
  • Students should be given the opportunity 2x a year after their initial year to take graduation tests. Student must take a graduation test one time in order to access alternative routes.
  • Draft thinking of how tests line up for our classes based on my notes from the above resources. As I don’t work for OSPI, I can’t be 100% sure that I’ve gotten it right, and like all things, the law is subject to change.

Growing Pains

This is where the idea of Fall Retakes becomes a misnomer, this year.  See, last year, the large majority of my 10th graders, at my school, did not take the Math SBA because it requires Algebra 2 content to score a 3 or 4 and accountability was 11th grade.  Most of our 10th graders’ math classes fall before Algebra 2.  So, this year’s "retake" in the fall is really the first opportunity for my 11th graders to take the Math SBA.  But, we must allow 2 opportunities a school year to pass graduation tests and they no longer have the EOC as an option.  So, they will take the SBA Math.  Whereas last year, only students who had attempted the test were given a fall retake.  This is also why the State Board of Education is meeting with OSPI to consider what score would a 10th grader with no Algebra 2 need to get to say they were on track to be a level 3 their junior year.

That’s why my school’s numbers are suddenly so high: 385 students need to take the Math SBA; most of them for the first time.  That’s essentially a regular testing session, like the one we run in the Spring.

In Fall 2018, however, our fall retakes will really be fall retakes.  Because in the Spring 2018, all of our 10th graders will sit for Math SBA, regardless of what math class they are currently enrolled in and taking.  I’m hoping that more students are successful on the math SBA as 10th graders, which should reduce our retake numbers.

It’s vital that several people within each building is keeping abreast of how testing is changing and morphing over this next year.  Knowing these changes and being able to communicate them to staff will help reduce stress in our lives.  Instead of trying to play catch-up to what has changed, I’m able to currently pull rosters for my school to find out which class periods are most affected by my testing cohort.  Turns out that this year, it’s our 11th grade History classes that captures all but 65 of our students needing math testing.

Now, to finalize that schedule, line up proctors and communicate those changes to our staff! You know...the easy stuff.

  • Smarter Balanced Assessments
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The opinions expressed by the CORElaborate Bloggers, guest bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD), Ready Washington or any employee thereof. PSESD is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Washington State Teacher Leader or Guest Bloggers.

Mary Moser Board

Library Media Specialist at Clover Park School District

I work as a high school Library Media Specialist in the Clover Park School District in Lakewood, Washington. This is my fifth year as a LMS, and my tenth year as a teacher.Before switching to the library, I taught 9th grade Humanities, which is the area that I certified in National Boards in 2013.