The Burbank Unified School District continues to prepare for Smarter Balance testing of the new Common Core national standards in the spring of 2015. While some district-wide tests have been dropped, other assessments will continue to be given to students, including writing prompts in elementary and secondary schools and baseline tests to provide data for the LCAP plan.
“Because it’s going to be widespread across the state, it’s not a reflection of our teachers or students at all,” she said. “It’s just a reflection on the testing instrument itself. I think that’s really important for parents to hear.”
Cuseo also noted that Smarter Balance testing will occur in March, April and part of May, to accommodate the much longer time needed for students to complete the test. Students in grades three through five will spend four hours on the English Language Arts section and three hours on the Math section.
Students in grades six through eight will need four hours for English Language Arts and three-and-a-half for Math. Eleventh graders need four-and-a-half hours for ELA and four for Math.
“That’s a lot of testing,” Cuseo said. “You shouldn’t really test more than two to three hours per day.”
All students in the same grade level across the district will take the adaptive Common Core Smarter Balance test in the same window of time. The recently purchased carts of Chromebooks will help the district achieve these goals, along with the support of the BUSD technology staff.
Limited district assessments in science, social science and health will remain similar to years previously, for now.
Teachers have had to change the pacing of their instruction schedules and test content, since they require more time to get through the material to align with Common Core standards.
“As you know with Common Core, everything kind of got turned upside down and we have to redo everything we are doing in instruction, from assessments to curriculum to textbooks,” Cuseo explained.