SBAC arrives at DBHS

Calvin Ru, Staff Writer

The Common Core version of standardized testing has officially arrived in its most recent model as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. While last year’s class of 2015 was able to take a field test of the SBAC, this year’s class of 2016 is the first to experience the newest and most updated form of the exam.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, the juniors were separated into two groups based off their last names to take the math section of the SBAC. The Computer Adaptive Test took place on the first day and had 38 multiple choice questions split up into two sections. The difficulty of the second section varied and was based on the student’s performance in the first section. The following day, juniors took the Performance Task, which had five free response questions about zip-lining. The juniors will take the English section of the SBAC today and tomorrow, following the same schedule as last week.

“I felt the lesson in math class about zip lining that we had to prepare for the text was really useless,” junior Jeff Chow said.

The purpose of the SBAC is to test the inclusion of Common Core standards into all school subjects. The new assessments differ from the former multiple choice test by including free-response questions and critical analysis.

“[This] generation is way more tech savvy that it’s important for students to be exposed to types of computer based assessments that the state is giving us now because you are going to get that in college,” Academics Dean Gabriel Aguilar said.

Although the SBAC is an updated version of the CST with half of the test taken on the computer, many students still find the evaluations to be unnecessary and an inefficient way of determining the ranking of schools nationwide.

“I don’t understand [why] we have to take time out of the school year to take a placement test when we already have SATs and ACTs,” junior Lauren Kashiwabara said. “On top of that, we’re taking it right before APs.”

Individuals could be exempted from the standardized tests with a signed note from his or her parents. However, despite the criticism from students, Aguilar thinks that the test does offer some benefits.

“[The SBAC] is a great way to expose all students to [online testing]. There are challenges, but overall I think [the SBAC] is an evolution more than anything,” Aguilar stated.