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Schools put the new state test to the test

Schools put the new state test to the test

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho - The new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is being field tested by schools across Idaho this week.

The SBAC is a computerized Math and Language Arts test aligned to the new Idaho Core Standards. It's meant to be more challenging and interactive than the previously administered ISAT.

"It'll help them understand where we're trying to go with getting them to think more deeply and truly understand concepts, rather than just memorizing steps to solve a problem," said Scott Woolstenhulme, the director of school improvement for Bonneville Joint School District 93.

The field test is an opportunity for both students and schools to get a feel for the new format. District 93 has found technical problems -- from audio issues to abrupt unwanted logouts.

"There's certainly bugs in the system, and we're finding that out working through those," said Woolstenhulme.

Oliver Roberts, principal of Iona Elementary, said proctors at his school reported that the language arts portion took an extremely long time.

"After about a half an hour they were on question two, and there's 44 questions on the test," said Roberts. "So, we got to the point that the testing proctor had to really push the kids along in order to get finished."

Woolstenhulme said that's exactly why the test needed a test run.

"We're really working to see, do we have enough technology to support this test? Is the time frame that we're giving sufficient for students to participate in this test?" said Woolstenhulme. "That's really what we're going to learn."

Tiffany Hansen was one of many teachers who proctored the test.

"It is a lot more interactive," said Hansen. "Some of the third-graders are a little nervous."

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