Status of Wyoming and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Wyoming first joined the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in 2010 as an Advisory State. Except at the higher education level, Wyoming had little/no involvement with the Consortium until the fall of 2012 when WDE staff became actively involved in order to learn more about both the benefits and the drawbacks of the Consortium. In July of 2013, Wyoming became a Governing State in SBAC; the status change from Advisory to Governing offered Wyoming greater participation in SBAC-provided professional development as well as the opportunity to vote with other member states on issues of importance to the Consortium.
For information on the history of the Consortium, please click here: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/timeline/
By September 30, 2014, SBAC transitioned out of its 4 year development phase and into its operational phase. Now located at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California-Los Angeles, the Consortium has established Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with 18 states and one Commonwealth (U.S. Virgin Islands) for implementation of the SBAC assessment in the spring of 2015. Wyoming is now an Affiliate member, rather than Governing, since it does not have an MOU with CRESST. Wyoming will not be administering SBAC assessments in the spring of 2015.
Spring 2014 Field Testing
From March to June, 2014, over 3700 students from 16 districts in Wyoming participated in the SBAC Field Test, along with 4.2 million other students in the 21 Governing states. While the staff preparation for the on-line test was different than what Wyoming educators ordinarily experience, the reports from the field were positive. Students reported that they were pleased to be able to explain their thinking as they solved math problems, and teachers indicated that the assessment was well-aligned to both what and how they taught. Feedback and lessons learned from other states is detailed in the Field Test Report, found here: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SmarterBalanced_FieldTest_Report.pdf
The Wyoming Department of Education has a contract with Educational Testing Services to continue to develop, administer, and score the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) and the Student Assessment of Writing Skills (SAWS) through the spring of 2016. Current Wyoming statute prescribing statewide assessment requires:
- Multiple choice items only,
- Writing assessment separate from reading assessment, and
- Writing assessment in only grades 3, 5, and 7.
Given these statutory constraints, Wyoming cannot develop and administer a next generation assessment system with multiple item types and integrated reading/writing tests like SBAC.
Below please find two documents that are responsive to concerns expressed across the state regarding SBAC. The first is a response to concerns of the Select Committee on Education Accountability prepared by the WDE in December of 2013. The second is a response to education data privacy and FERPA concerns which was prepared by the Data Quality Campaign.
Interested in learning more about the test? Would you like to take a Practice Test to see what the test questions look like? Go here for more information:
If you have questions about Smarter Balanced in Wyoming, please contact Deb Lindsey, Assessment Division Director, at 307-777-8753.