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State test rolls out without issue in Darien

Photo by Megan Spicer

Board of Education member Sara Zuro listened to Assistant Superintendent Tim Canty discuss the changes that resulted from the delay of the Smarter Balanced Field Test implementation.

The initial rollout of the Smarter Balanced Field Test was smooth in the Darien elementary and middle schools on Tuesday, according to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Tim Canty.

Canty told the Board of Education Tuesday night that, aside from a few glitches with students logging in to begin the computer-based test, the implementation went well.

"It was a relatively uneventful first day," Canty said.

Holmes, Tokeneke and Royle elementary schools started the tests on Tuesday, while Ox Ridge and Hindley elementary schools were set to start Wednesday.

Students at Middlesex Middle School also started the exams Tuesday.

"By all accounts, students were comfortable," Canty said. "There was a comfort level today. I have to think we're one of the few districts to test all of our eighth-graders in one window during the morning."

Canty said some of the students at the middle school finished the exam faster than was anticipated.

"Once the test started, it seemed seamless," said board member Katie Stein, who echoed the minimal issues with students logging in to start the test.

Board member David Martens said he asked his 12-year-old son how the test went on the first day and found that it went well.

On March 14, the administration of the field test was delayed a week.

"We were informed that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium made this decision late last evening based on the need to ensure proper administration of the field test on a national basis," according to a March 14 email from interim Superintendent of Schools Lynne Pierson.

Darien High School faces the greatest impact from the delays because of how close the state tests are to the advanced-placement tests and SATs and ACTs.

The juniors will be tested during the last testing window from May 20 to 30, which will use the adaptive question model. Based on the way a student answers a test question determines the next questions the students take.

The Smarter Balanced Field Tests are being administered as districts implement the Common Core State Standards, which call for reading and math to be covered more deeply and in a different order than in the past. Forty-four states adopted the standards. Connecticut adopted them in 2010. Indiana backed out of the Common Core State Standards Monday and New York has deferred the implementation of the teaching model until 2022. Read Full Article 

Connecticut teachers are apprehensive of the new test.

In late February, the Connecticut Education Association, which represents 43,000 teachers, released a survey of its membership that found 97 percent support a moratorium on the Smarter Balanced Assessments that go along with the new standards.

The Smarter Balanced test will replace the Connecticut Mastery Test.

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews

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