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Testing/Assessment
SMARTER BALANCED: THE NEW STATE ASSESSMENT

About the "Smarter" Assessment
Delaware Public Schools have implemented a new assessment system for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics called Smarter Balanced. 

Like the program it replaces (DCAS), Smarter Balanced assessments are delivered online and are designed to give parents and educators in-depth information about student progress. 

Unlike the old tests, the new tool employs national benchmarks (Common Core State Standards) that will allow educators to compare student achievement between schools, districts, and participating states to ensure that students are making adequate progress. Accommodations will be made to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners, produce results that are valid.

“Smarter” Test Design
The tests are offered once a year in Grades 3-8 and 11. While previous tests consisted primarily of multiple choice items, the new “Smarter” assessment will include short answer and performance task items that require students to demonstrate a deeper level of critical thinking, listening and writing. This will result in a longer, “untimed” assessment. Because the exams are more rigorous, State officials caution that proficiency scores could be lower during the early years of adoption.

ELA Test
Students will read fiction and non-fiction texts and use evidence from these texts to answer questions, make inferences, and present persuasive arguments.

Math Test 
Questions will present students with multi-step problems, conceptual questions and real-world applications. Students will not only provide answers, but explain how they arrived at their solutions.

Parent Workshops. Our Curriculum Office began introducing the new tests to parents during the 2013-14 school year and will continue to offer workshop opportunities in the year ahead. Sessions will be advertised in our electronic newsletter, The Appoquinimink Report. For more information on opportunities at your school, contact your Principal.

*Important: The State of Delaware will continue to use DCAS (a separate online test) to assess science and social studies at select grades.

Why do we need this test?
In 2010, Delaware voluntarily adopted a set of commonly shared state standards. While curriculum and lesson design remain local decisions, these standards offer a clear articulation of what students are expected to learn in English language arts and math from kindergarten through grade 12.

They are internationally benchmarked to ensure rigor is on a par with top-performing states and nations around the globe. To date, more than 40 states have signed on and are working to implement the standards.

Where can parents get more information?
For more resources, click on the links below.