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Delaware Preparing for Switch to Smarter Balanced Student Test

WDDE (DE) (02/28/2014) Hall, April

Delaware is preparing for the final field test of the new Smarter Balanced student assessment -- scheduled to begin on March 18 -- that will replace the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS). The State Education Department continues to answer questions about the new test, which is designed to asses how well the state's students are doing under the Common Core Standards. Officials say the cost of implementing and scoring the new test will be the equivalent to or less than the cost of the DCAS. During the transition in the next academic year, no Smarter Balanced scores will be used as a part of the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS); in the 2015-16 academic year, Smarter Balanced will be worked into DPAS' student growth component. State Education Secretary Mark Murphy commented that with the introduction of the new test, student proficiency is likely to drop, but the scores will begin climbing immediately. "We have been working on this transition for more than three years, so our schools, our teachers, our principals have been transitioning their teaching styles, their materials, their Friday morning assessments, to align to the Common Core for years," he said. "But we also know there's been a runway for our teachers to be working toward these standards for multiple years and they will continue to drive toward those standards. We should see those proficiency levels rise almost immediately because we've been working on this." Murphy noted that the new exam's results will be "more meaningful and sophisticated" for students, teachers, and parents.
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