Dear Parents and Guardians:
This spring students in grades 3-8 as well as third year high school students will be administered Smarter Balanced testing. Maine, as a member of the Smarter Balanced consortium comprised of 21 states, will administer the Smarter Balanced to measure students in their understanding of the Maine Learning Standards authorized by the Maine Legislature. In doing so, Maine complies with federal and state law requiring the annual measure of student performance on the standards. By design, results from the Smarter Balanced assessment are expected to provide schools with information on students’ college and career readiness.
Unlike the NECAP and the MEA, required administrations by the State in previous years, Smarter Balanced is a computer adaptive test. Students complete the test entirely online. While the test is untimed, the test is expected to extend over several days for approximately 8 hours for students in grades 3-8 and 12 hours for high schoolers.
In addition to selected response questions, students will respond to constructed response and technology enhanced questions intended to be rigorous and challenging at all grade levels.
Smarter Balanced results will be available to schools by the end of June.
Bangor administrators and teachers thoughtfully have considered the requirements for Smarter Balanced as well as the impact on your child’s daily school routine when developing the testing schedule. Every attempt has been made to develop a testing schedule that satisfies the requirements of Smarter Balanced while also prioritizing instructional time and what is in the students’ best interests.
Not only does No Child Left Behind (NCLB) establish achievement requirements, but NCLB sets participation requirements for schools as well. Schools not meeting the participation requirements are subject to sanctions under NCLB. Please make every effort to ensure your child not only attends school during the testing period but is punctual in his/her attendance. Your school’s principal will be communicating the test schedule to you.
Parents are encouraged to visit the Smarter Balanced website at www.smarterbalanced.org for more information about the assessment. Parents also are encouraged to view on the Bangor Educational Channel Superintendent Webb’s informational comments on standardized testing. The presentation airs on Time Warner’s channel 5 at 3:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. It may also be viewed at the top of this page.
As always, continue to encourage your child entering the testing period and make sure he/she is well rested. Certainly, contact your school principal or my office if you have questions regarding the State required assessment. Thank you for your continued commitment to your child’s education and to his/her school.
Robert L. MacDonald