Martirano: Smarter Balanced testing off to positive start in year two

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Martirano: Smarter Balanced testing off to positive start in year two
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

Smarter Balanced Assessment testing is underway in West Virginia, and running smoother than last year according to state Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano.

The test, which is conducted online, ran into some issues on its maiden voyage in West Virginia last spring, taking longer due to connectivity issues and lab space. Martirano said this year’s testing is off to a more auspicious start.

“What I’m most pleased about is our principals are building from their concerns that they had last year. They’ve had more time to prepare this year,” he said. “I’m receiving personal text messages, emails and Twitter messages indicating how our students are prepared for this and how the smoothness is occurring this year.”

Martirano said the state school board had made many adjustments, including shortening the testing window to 25 days, backing the tests up until the end of the school calendar and adding daily briefing with testing coordinators that include daily reports.

“We’re off to a very positive start,” Martirano said. “And the good news about all of this is we have enhanced communications. If there are concerns we’re trying to mitigate that up front and respond in kind. I recognize we can’t control every variable, but the variables that we can we’re going to respond and make sure it is a seamless transition.”

Eventually, Martirano’s goal was to have one-to-one computing for all students, but he said currently not all West Virginia schools have the technology to do so.

“To have it at the ultimate level would be to have a computer for every child so we don’t have to manage the resources in our schools,” he said. “We’re not quite there yet. But we’re encouraging our superintendents and our communities, and a variety of other individuals to provide more computers in our schools.”

West Virginia is one of 19 states that use the Smarter Balanced Assessment.