WVEA president: Replace Smarter Balanced Assessment with ACT

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WVEA president: Replace Smarter Balanced Assessment with ACT

By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

The president of the West Virginia Education Association sees data indicating that many Mountain State students did not use all of the allotted time for this year’s Smarter Balanced Assessment testing as another reason to ditch it completely.

“My guess would be that it’s not important (to students) and they’re not giving their best effort on it,” said Dale Lee during an appearance on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

In Smarter Balanced results released last week, data showed high school students in the 9th, 10th and 11th grades used less than half of the 450 minutes available, for an average of 196 minutes or 44 percent.

Among the middle school students who had 390 minutes for the math and English language arts portions on the test, the average completion time was 280 minutes.

Dr. Michael Martirano, state superintendent of schools, previously called those “time on test” numbers “a very alarming piece of data” and said he believed it had a “direct correlation to performance, particularly on math.”

Martirano’s calling for ways to incentivize the standardized testing by possibly linking test results to college admission or PROMISE Scholarship awards.

Lee said the ACT should replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which was used for a second time in West Virginia during the previous school year.

“It is a meaningful test for the kids. They know that if they score high enough it gives them the opportunity for the PROMISE Scholarship and, with the analysis that it provides, it does seem to me to be the better test,” Lee said.

He cited Kentucky as a state that has had success with the ACT.

“It shows that (if) kids know that at the end result they can get a college scholarship for it, particularly in West Virginia with the PROMISE Scholarship, so kids start to take it more serious, the parents take it more serious.”

Grade school students used almost all of the allotted time for the Smarter Balanced Assessment test at the end of the 2015 school year.

An ACT testing model, Lee said, would include testing for those younger grades along with workplace readiness testing.