Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Familiarize your Students to SBAC Style Exams

Our students are getting ready to take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) exams in a few weeks.  Taking an online exam, especially the Smarter Balanced exam, which has questions such as drag and drop, table fill in, hot spot, etc. can be a huge barrier for students who are not used to participating in this type of exam. 

The exam should be testing our students on the skills that they have learned, not their ability to navigate an online exam.

I'm not a huge fan of "teaching to the test", but I believe that we should be preparing our students to take this new type of exam.  Our students should walk into the exam familiar with the technology, so they can focus on the content of the exam.

There are two free online tools, Edcite and Edulasticthat allow teachers to create their own SBAC style exams.  You can use their question banks or create your own to match the content you are currently teaching in your course.

As you are assessing your students in the next few weeks, try out one of these tools to help students learn how to navigate this online style exam.  By giving our students this opportunity, it could alleviate some of their stress about these new exams.  

**I don't recommend giving one of these exams to your students as a summative assessment that counts for a grade, because the goal is to teach them how to answer the online SBAC style of questions, but I think it could be a great practice test or class activity to review material.

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