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9/6/2012 10:32:00 AM
Smarter Balanced Weekly Update Q & A: Translation of Smarter Balanced Assessments

Answering Open Questions
Each week we will address a question or two on the minds of Consortium members. Send your questions to sbac@wested.org eMail.

Will Smarter Balanced assessments be translated into other languages?
As part of the Race to the Top Assessment Program application, the Consortium made a commitment to translate the mathematics interim and summative assessments into five languages - including Spanish and sign language. The Consortium is developing a translations framework to guide this work.

It is important to note, however, that translation is just one way to help ensure that the assessments accurately measure the knowledge and skills of English language learners. Smarter Balanced is focused on including construct-relevant language in our math items, which minimizes the appearance of construct-irrelevant language use. All assessment items and performance tasks will go through a bias and sensitivity review. In addition, the assessments will include accessibility and accommodations options that will help English language learners while taking the assessment.

What is the current estimate of total testing time required for Smarter Balanced at the high school level, both overall and by subject?
Smarter Balanced is currently refining the blue print of the assessments and in discussion with states regarding possible shorter and longer forms of the assessment. More information will become available by summer 2013 if not sooner, pending these discussions and the administration of small-scale field trials to be conducted during fall 2012.

Will the Smarter Balanced assessments be available for paper/pencil administration?
This will be a state-wide decision. ODE anticipates engaging stakeholders in this discussion once the scope of the assessment is solidified.

Will each district have its own 12-week window or will there be a 'standard' window based on a state-wide average of end dates?
Currently, there is a single 12-week window that all Smarter Balanced states will need to abide by when scheduling testing. The final policy will evolve as Smarter Balanced learns more about capacity and district needs from pilot and field testing. ODE will advocate for a longer Smarter Balanced window so that each school district can establish its own "last 12 week" test window.

Will students other than 11th graders (grades 9, 10 & 12) be 'allowed' to take Smarter Balanced assessments?
Smarter Balanced has not yet made a final policy decision regarding whether to make the high school level Smarter Balanced assessments available to students in grades 9, 10, or 12. However, it is Oregon's intention to continue providing an opportunity for 9th, 10th and 12th graders to have access to the assessment. It is possible that the interim testing system may allow for secure testing at grades 9, 10 and 12 for state purposes.

Will students in high school be able to 'retest' on Smarter Balanced assessments for Essential Skill purposes or will students who do not pass as 11th graders need to use another approved Essential Skills assessment option?
Smarter Balanced does not envision providing students with multiple test opportunities within a grade level, but as a governing state, Oregon is working to make the Smarter Balanced assessments available to students in grades 9, 10, and 12.

Will ODE provide access for Oregon districts to Smarter Balanced interim and formative assessments, or each district need to separately purchase access?
Based on feedback from stakeholders that it is a priority to provide the interim and formative assessments, ODE will submit a budget request to provide access to Oregon districts as part of Oregon's statewide assessment system.

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Oregon Department of Education
Voice: 503-947-5600
Fax: 503-378-5156
255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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