The Smarter Balanced pilot tests ended today, and the computer labs are open to students again. The 11th graders spent 8.5 hours over the past two weeks sitting and “testing” in English/Language Arts and math. While they were cooperative, they were not happy spending so many hours in front of screens. Furthermore, they are disgruntled they will not receive the individual results of their tests; they have no idea how well or how poorly they did.
So that the experience would help prepare teachers for next year, however, the 11th graders did cooperate in a prepared survey that asked them what they thought of the new online tests. One of the responses from an unnamed student was particularly interesting:
“It gives you a head ache and Isn’t it bad for you to stare a computer for long periods of time? “Make sure you stand up and walk away from your computer on a regular basis. Just walk around for a few minutes, stretch, and relax. This should be done at least every hour. For my patients I recommend that they use a timer and get away from their computer every 20 to 30 minutes”
In reading the response, I immediately realized that this student had sought out and included evidence to make his or her point, that spending hours in front of a computer was not healthy. In this student’s opinion, the tests demand too much onscreen reading. The evidence researched for the response came from a reputable website address-The University of California.
If the SBAC is testing the Common Core State Standards that emphasize evidence in written responses, than this student is demonstrating proficiency…even in the pilot test.