Parents of public school students in grades 3rd through 10th are being advised that the testing window for the online, standardized test Smarter Balanced will be available from Tuesday, March 17 to June 12. The testing window for 11th graders will go online from April 21 to June 12, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the V.I. Department of Education (VIDE).
In the meantime, the VIDE assessment and evaluation team is reaching out to parents to ensure that they are preparing their children to take the standardized examination, which will be administered in schools’ computer labs. Alexandria Baltimore-Hookfin, state director of assessment for VIDE, has been encouraging parents to have their children practice on the sample tests at the Students and Families section of the VIDE Smarter Balanced Testing Portal at: http://vide.portal.airast.org/.
Baltimore-Hookfin stated that the Smarter Balanced assessment will prove more difficult than the Vital-S that was previously administered to targeted students in the territory, but she hinted it may be more academically valuable in the long run. The assessment director also wants parents and students to take note that the language arts and mathematics assessments may take up to seven hours to complete all together.
Saul Santiago, Ph.D., district director of data and assessment for the St. Croix District, is relaying important information on the Smarter Balanced assessments to parents through the schools. Santiago said teachers have received resources and materials on Smarter Balanced to share with parents.
According to a Smarter Balanced fact sheet (www.smarterbalanced.org), schools across the U.S. Mainland and territories are “implementing the new academic standards that provide consistent guidelines in English and mathematics at each grade level” and help prepare students for high school, and in turn college and the workplace. The fact sheet adds that “these new benchmarks challenge students to develop a deeper understanding of subject matter, learn how to think critically and apply what they are learning to the real world.
For more information on the administration of Smarter Balanced assessments in the V.I. Public School System, contact Alexandria Baltimore-Hookfin at 773-1095, ext. 7084 or Dr. Santiago at 773-1095, ext. 7092.