Teachers, schools, and districts will soon need to make an important decision about participating in the field test that will support development of a high school assessment of the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards (Next Generation Science Standards). The field test will be administered as a separate online assessment for high school students and can be taken during a single 50-minute class period.
An application in the Washington Assessment Management System (WAMS) will open December 1, 2016 so that the District Test Coordinator for each district can indicate which schools, and the approximate number of teachers and students that will participate. The registration window closes January 31, 2017.
Purpose: The Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards (Next Generation Science Standards) will be assessed for the first time in spring 2018. Before test forms can be constructed, newly developed test items must be field tested to ensure that the items are accessible to all students and that they produce results that are valid, reliable, and fair. These new, online field test items can be embedded in the online Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) in grades 5 and 8, but the paper-pencil Biology End-of-Course exam does not provide that same opportunity for the new high school items. This separate online field test for high school will ensure that the statistics used to construct future high school test forms are as accurate as possible.
No scores or reports: The number of items a student will see on the field test is much smaller than the total number of items that will be on the full assessment delivered in spring 2018. The cut scores for the full assessment will not be established until summer 2018. This means that no individual student scores will be generated from the field test. Without individual scores there will be no school, district, or state scores. Schools need to understand that the field test is not a preview of how well their students will do on the operational tests in 2018, but rather a way to help OSPI make sure the operational tests in 2018 and beyond are fair, valid, and reliable.
Participation: Students in Grade 11 are the target population for this field test. If the test is administered to an entire class, and some students in Grade 10 or Grade 12 are also in the class, those students are also able to participate. Students in Grade 9 are not able to participate in this field test. Students may participate regardless of science courses taken and do not need to be currently enrolled in a science course.
Test Format and Administration Time: The high school field test will be delivered online, using the same testing platform as the Smarter Balanced Assessments (the AIR Test Administration Interface and the WA Secure Browser). There will be selected response, technology enhanced, and constructed response items; most items will be associated with one or more stimuli. Most item formats are similar to those students have seen in the Smarter Balanced assessments so we anticipate that students will navigate the online functionality well. Students will see only a small number of items which should be completed within one 50-minute class period. The field test is a secure state assessment, so all OSPI test security protocols and training must be followed.
Testing Window: The testing window for the field test is May 1 to June 15, 2017. The field test will be administered during one day of that window, and within one class period for each student participating.
District Test Coordinators message: The information in this message was distributed to District Test Coordinators (DCs) via the Washington Assessment Weekly newsletter on November 14, 2016. That message also included directions for how to register schools for the field test, and information about which Designated Supports and Accommodations will be available during the field test.
Teacher Volunteers: While registration will be done “by school,” that does not mean that an entire school or grade level must participate. An individual teacher can give this field test to one class of students, or to multiple classes; or a group of teachers at a school can each test one class or multiple classes. The teachers and classes of students are not limited to science classes—students in any subject can participate. We hope that this flexibility will increase the number of students that are able to participate. Teachers interested in participating in this field test should contact their District Test Coordinator (DC) before January 31, 2017 and let them know of their willingness to participate. DCs are the only staff that can register a school for the field test.
Elementary and middle schools are not included in the registration options because participation in the online Science MSP includes the field test items embedded in the Spring MSP test.