Tabula Rasa – Video Transcription
Tabula Rasa Publishing Services was awarded the contract from CTB McGraw Hill to develop the math assessment items for the Smarter Balanced for grades three through high school. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a group of 25 states that have gotten together to write assessment for these new set of standards that came out in 2010. It’s a historic opportunity to be involved in the assessment, the learning of our children across the country.
Tabula Rasa, for the past couple of years, has been working with CTB McGraw Hill for their various assessment projects, and our contract with CTB and McGraw Hill is for the test pilot program. And in February of 2013, Smarter Balanced wants to have a test pilot program ready to launch in the schools. So we’ve worked with CTB McGraw Hill closely and we were happy to be selected to work on this project as well.
The Common Core State Standards for Math is really the largest effort to date to come up with a group of standards that everybody can agree to and that every student in the United States is going to be educated toward. And so this is the very first time that we’re coming up with an assessment program to test the students on this new set of standards.
The items that we’re working on are approximately 10,000 assessment items that are being written for Smarter Balanced pilot test. There are standard multiple choice items, but part of Smarter Balanced’s approach is to introduce more advanced and technologically enhanced items. We’re doing constructed response items. We are writing longer constructed response short response items, and a variety of technology enhanced items, which are new for this kind of assessment.
These assessments are administered completely online, and it’s going to be using computer adaptive technology. So the test is going to change based on how the student is performing. With the use of the technology, we’re able to introduce interesting new ways to test the student beyond just filling in a bubble on a test sheet. We can have students drag and drop on the screen, we can have them draw lines, graphs, we can have them select different parts of shapes, things that go way beyond the traditional assessment model. It’s exciting to be involved in assessing students in the new way.
It’s really going to let them show what they know in ways different than traditional testing. It is going to open up success– assessment for a wider range of students and subgroups of students who traditionally have had trouble with testing. So based on the students, the way they think, the way they operate, some students are better with different modalities of instruction and assessment, and this is going to be able to address all of those.
It’s a very exciting opportunity. It’s a very historic event, I think, very excited to be part of it. It’s a groundbreaking project that’s going to be around and is going to be leading instruction and assessment of students for a long time. And the expertise that we are developing in writing the kind of items that are going into the system and in dealing with the Common Core to the depth and the levels that we’re dealing with is invaluable experience for us as a company and for our writers, freelancers, educators that we work with.