3 SBAC Myths and Tips

Testing season is quickly approaching which means many of your students will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in the coming weeks. Since the SBAC is a relatively new test we’ve distilled the top 3 SBAC myths and have provided you with tips so that your students can prepare for this year’s assessment.

The SBAC Gives All Students A Fair Chance to Succeed

Since this test is taken on the computer, strong computer skills are imperative. Students who are familiar with technology and computers tend to perform better on the SBAC than those who do not have regular computer access. Students will need to be able to navigate the SBAC platform and have strong typing skills for the English portion of the assessment. There is great inequality amongst technology offered in schools; some schools give each student their own iPad, at other schools students are only allowed to use the computer lab once a week. Since not all students are offered the same opportunities to use technology in school, let alone outside of school, students who aren’t regularly using computers often end up struggling more with this assessment. One way to help your students overcome this disadvantage is to encourage parents to promote technology use outside of school. One idea is to encourage them to schedule time at the local public library or Boys and Girls Club. Strong computer and typing ability are important skills to master in the 21st century and will benefit your students outside of the SBAC.

Every Student Will Be Asked The Same Questions

The SBAC is designed to be adaptive to the student taking the test. What does that mean for your students? Your more advanced students will likely be asked harder questions than your lower achieving students. When a student answers several questions correctly the difficulty level will begin to increase for that student. The test was created this way to give a more comprehensive picture of student performance. With traditional fixed tests, teachers and administrators were only able to see if a student understood or didn’t understand a specific topic. With adaptive testing, teachers and administrators can now see to what degree a student does or doesn’t understand a topic. This is helpful for teaching and reteaching specific Common Core standards.There are many adaptive online math programs, including Sokikom available that can begin to prepare your students for the varying level of difficulty and the types of questions in SBAC.

It’s Impossible To Prepare For The Test

The SBAC is like every other test in that it is a TEST which means teaching students proper test taking skills will benefit them on the SBAC. Making sure students are reading the question thoroughly to understand what it is asking is the key to having success on this test. This test can be tricky so making sure students not only read the question thoroughly but also making sure they are aware that there can be more than one right answer is very important. The purpose of the SBAC is to see how deeply students understand concepts. When preparing your students for this assessment, make sure they can explain why an answer is correct or incorrect. A great resource to familiarize your students with SBAC specific questions and content are practice tests.

Keep in mind you can do a lot to prepare your students for this assessment but the belief, confidence, and motivation in your students is what will ultimately help them succeed.