Friday, September 13, 2013

Smarter Balanced reveals accommodations guidelines

by Derek Spencer

The Smarter Balanced testing consortium, which is working on standardized tests based on the Common Core State Standards, has released its guidelines on accessibility accommodations.

The consortium will not allow students in grades 3 through 5 to have passages read to them while they are taking their exams.

Education Week writes about the issue here.

Smarter Balanced will restrict these students from using the read-aloud accomodation because the consortium's analysis of the Common Core State Standards indicates that students in grades 3 – 5 are being tested on their text-decoding skills. States may elect to use the read-aloud accommodations anyway, but the test results for those students will be deemed invalid.

Interestingly, older students will be afforded read-aloud accommodations, as Smarter Balanced believes these students are being tested on reading skills other than text-decoding. 

You can read Smarter Balanced's Accommodations Guidelines here. There are some particularly interesting comments on test design at the end of the document.

Derek Spencer is a Marketing Communications Associate at Prestwick House.

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