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2 Schools Selected to Pilot New State Tests

Two Snoqualmie Valley public schools have been selected by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to participate in a pilot test of the new standardized state tests being developed to better align with the new Common Core State Standards.

Students at Opstad Elementary School (OES) and Fall City Elementary School (FCES) will get a sneak peak at the Smarter Balanced assessments. In the coming weeks, 3rd graders at OES will take an English language arts/literacy pilot exam, while 5th graders at FCES will take a mathematics pilot exam.

Our two schools are among 162 schools that OSPI has selected across the state to preview the new exams, and some others are volunteering.

The assessments being developed are based on universal education standards being implemented across the nation. Washington is one of 45 states adopting the Common Core State Standards, which cover the language arts, literacy and mathematics. Eventually, by spring 2015, the Smarter Balanced assessments will replace our state's current standardized tests given to students in 3rd through 11th grades, which include the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP), and the High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE).

The results from pilot tests will help guide the test developers. The pilot will be used to evaluate assessment items and the online test-delivery system, in preparation for when the new tests become our state's new means of measuring student achievement in 18 months.

Schools will not receive student scores, since the pilot is designed to be a test of the items and performance tasks - not an opportunity to report on student learning. At this time, the pilot test will not replace other statewide assessments.

Snoqualmie Valley Schools Assistant Superintendent Don McConkey, who oversees Teaching and Learning, said, "Although the new assessments are not yet finalized, there are benefits to experiencing the exams before they matter. Participation in this pilot testing will allow our teachers to see what the assessments cover and how questions are asked. As we continue our work toward aligning curriculum and instructional practices to meet the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards, we want to be as prepared as possible."

"We need to get this right," state Superintendent Randy Dorn said in a news release. "The successful implementation of Smarter Balanced assessments is a critical part of our goal to ensure all students are ready for college and careers by the time they graduate from high school."

For more information from OSPI, click here for their Pilot Test announcement or visit their website at: http://www.k12.wa.us/.