Common Core | News

27 Vermont Schools To Field Test Smarter Balanced Assessments

Vermont will replace its current state math and English Language Arts tests with Smarter Balanced tests based on the Common Core State Standards beginning in 2015. Prior to that, 27 elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools will participate in field tests of the new high-stakes assessments.

Smarter Balanced is one of two state consortia developing assessments around Common Core standards that will commence in the 2014-2015 school year. Its field testing program was recently expanded to include up to 10 percent of the student population in each of the 28 Smarter Balanced states.

Smarter Balanced field testing is slated for spring 2014.

Prior to the field tests, Smarter Balanced conducted pilot tests in spring 2013 among more than 5,000 schools and conducted practice tests in late May. Field tests will provide a more comprehensive preview of the operational assessments that will be fully implemented in 2014-2015.

Field testing is conducted in order to validate the questions on the exams and test the schools' technology infrastructure to ensure reliable operation.

According to information released by the state, about a third of Vermont schools volunteered to take part in the field tests, though not all of those could be selected as field test sites.

As a side benefit, Vermont students who participate in the field tests will not be required to take the state tests (NECAP) in math and English this year, thanks to an NCLB waiver from the United States Department of Education.

"Unfortunately, the field test won't generate any student test scores," said Michael Hock, state director of educational assessment, in a prepared statement, "but it does give Vermont a chance to contribute to the development of these exciting new educational tools. We believe the benefits justify having one year without state test results in the 27 field test schools."

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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