Admins juggle schedule and equipment as district requires more fall and spring standardized tests

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Originally published on October 22, 2015

This fall, the school administration is scrambling to make room in its schedule for another standardized test required by the district, hoping that it will go better than last spring’s, which took more instructional time than planned because of scheduling and technical issues.

Ninth and tenth graders, who did not have to take the test last year, will have to take the interim tests this year.

In addition to the big summative test given at the end of the spring semester, the district is requiring schools to give two smaller interim tests sometime this fall and early spring.

Ninth and tenth graders, who did not have to take the test last year, will have to take the interim tests this year. Last year only juniors took it.

The interim assessments are given to check students’ English and math skills before the overall Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) summative test is given near the end of the school year.

Some portions of the English and math tests are online. The district set the testing period to be from Oct. 15 to Nov. 13 and teachers are now able to access the website. But the administration has not yet figured out a schedule for the test, according to new assistant principal of curriculum Dacotah Swett. She is looking to extend the testing window.

The interim test is untimed, but is expected to take at least an hour and a half of English and math classes.

The administration does not know how much equipment will be available for testing, making it difficult to schedule for the test.

The administration does not know how much equipment will be available for testing, making it difficult to schedule for the test. The district has some computers to lend, but the amount available is not yet confirmed, according to Swett. Last year, the district supplied one computer for every 8–10 students taking the test, forcing teachers to juggle laptop carts between classes. Teachers in the English department complained about the shortage of computers and WiFi issues, as well as losing at least six days of instructional time.

Not knowing the schedule and how the test is going to be administered has been worrisome for English department chair Meredith Santiago. “It’s extremely frustrating for me,” Santiago said. “It makes me look like I don’t know what I’m doing in front of the teachers in my department. They [the district] expect us to do certain things, but they don’t seem to need to be accountable themselves.”