The State Board of Education has adopted new standardized tests for South Carolina students that will be different from current ones and more challenging.
The standardized tests that South Carolina students take in math and English are likely to go through some major changes in the next few years.
Old Assessments Don't Match Up
- The state's old tests don't match up to the new standards, so the board agreed to use new tests being developed by the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium.
- "It's not going to be just one single test at the end of the year.
- The SMARTER Balance testing consortia has tests throughout the year so you'll be able to judge progress throughout the entire year and actually adjust instruction to meet the needs of the students."
- The new tests will also be computerized rather than paper and pencil.
- They'll be computer-adaptive, which means the more questions a student gets right, the harder the test becomes. If the student is missing questions, the computer moves back to easier ones.
- Improved Instruction - "And that type of feedback is what really helps our teachers improve their instruction, when they know how their students are doing over a period of time rather than just one test at the end of a school year," Ragley says. "And so that'll lead to better instruction, which we believe will lead to better outcomes."
- Being computer-based means a couple of other advantages as well. The new tests should save the state about $2 million a year in printing costs.
Online Means Improved Security
- The new tests are more secure.
- Since the questions change for each student based on his answers, a student can't try to copy off the student next to him, since that student will likely have a different question.
- And since there's no hard copy of the test or answer sheets, teachers wouldn't be able to change wrong answers or give students test questions in advance, Ragley says.