Saturday, February 22, 2014

Smarter Balanced and insufficient infrastructure...

At this week's staff meeting we looked at the Smarter Balanced training tests and scheduling for the field tests 3rd through 5th graders will be taking at our site this spring.  Some teachers who had not spent much time looking at the new assessments were surprised at the rigor of tasks students will be expected to complete.  Especially the lengthy compositions requiring students to construct two to three paragraphs or more.  The shift from multiple choice scantron testing to computer based testing requiring students to navigate multiple types of questions and tasks is going to be interesting for sure...if students are actually able to access the tests.  During our hour long staff meeting, using the Smarter Balanced secure browser, not all of the teachers in attendance could get logged in at the same time.  There were only about 10 teachers present.  I'm not sure if it was a bandwidth issue or what, but if 10 teachers can't have access at the same time, what's going to happen when 60 students are trying to access the system at the same time!?

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