Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SBAC Practice and Training Tests

SBAC Practice and Training Tests

About the Practice and Training Tests

The purpose of these training tests is to become familiar with the system, functionality, and item types; the tests are not intended to guide classroom instruction.
Some students may have difficulty with some of the content aligned to higher grades within the grade level/subject range of each training test; nevertheless, this should not interfere with students’ ability to interact with an item for its intended training purpose. If an item appears to be too difficult, encourage students to experiment with the tools, choose the best answer and move on to the next item.
Practice Test
The practice tests mirror the Smarter Balanced summative assessments in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. Each test provides students with a grade-specific testing experience, including a variety of question types and difficulty levels (approximately 30 items each in mathematics and ELA), as well as a performance task. All universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations approved by Smarter Balanced are available on the practice tests. Language supports, including translated glossaries and stacked Spanish translation, are available on mathematics Practice and Training Tests.
Training Test
The training tests are designed to provide students and teachers with opportunities to quickly familiarize themselves with the software and navigational tools that they will use for the upcoming Smarter Balanced Assessments for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. Training tests are available for both mathematics and ELA and are organized by grade bands (grades 3 – 5, grades 6 -8, and grades 9 – 11), with each test containing 5 – 10 questions.  The questions on the training test were selected to provide students with an opportunity to practice a range of question types. The training tests do not contain performance tasks.
Accessing the Training Tests
Students may log in as a Guest User to take a practice or training test on their own. If a test administrator would like to administer a practice test session, students may enter their first name, student ID, and session ID (provided by the TA through the TA Practice & Training Site).
Users must use a supported secure browser or web browser to access the Training Test site. For more information on available browsers, refer to the Supported Browsers page.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Accommodations and Special Populations

Smarter Balanced Test Administration - Accommodations and Special Populations - Support Documents and Training
This webinar was used for a District Administrator (DA) Training on Text to Speech (TTS)/Read Aloud Accommodation for the ELA CAT Grades 3-5.
This document provides guidelines for the use of simplified test directions. Simplified test directions is a designated support allowable across all grades on Smarter Balanced assessments.
This form is required for special educators who either use assistive technology, administer an accommodation, or have a process that is not on Smarter Balance’s list of approved accommodations. When in doubt, please check with the state prior to completing the form. This form can be completed for any state assessment.
This checklist must be used to document a student's possible need for either the Text-to-Speech or Read Aloud accommodation for ELA reading passages for students with disabilities in grades 3-5. The checklist and supporting documentation will need to go to Linda Moreno [fax 802-479-1829] at the VT AOE for final review and approval. All communication/requests will go through the District Test Administrator (DA). Forms from educators and school coordinators will not be accepted.
This form is required for special educators who wish to request a human reader for the Read Aloud Accommodation or the Text-to-Speech Accommodation in grades 3-5 for ELA passages on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Friday, December 22, 2017

New Math Program Adopted!

To: K-5 Mathematics Teachers, and Families
From: Sheila Soule
Cc: Elementary Principals, Brigid Nease
Date: December 21, 2017
Re: Elementary Mathematics Program Changes 2018-19
Over the past nine years, most schools in our District have been using a math program called Investigations Mathematics in grades K-5. When the Common Core standards were adopted by the Vermont State Board of Education in 2010 we updated our local curriculum and learned our Investigations program was not fully aligned with the new standards. The publisher provided some supplemental materials to help address the gaps, and then released a fully aligned new edition in 2016-17. Before simply purchasing this new edition of the program (at a significant expense), we decided to conduct a full review of other mathematics programs available to reach consensus on which program to move forward for adoption across the HUUSD beginning in school year 2018-19.

The programs selected for review were:
  • Investigations Mathematics
  • Bridges In Mathematics
  • Eureka Math (a.k.a. Engage NY)

A committee was formed to evaluate these programs and pilot each for approximately one unit (one month). In addition to using the materials for instruction, the team conducted school visits to places where the programs are currently in use.  The committee worked incredibly hard to exercise due diligence in evaluating these programs and should be commended for taking on this additional task. The committee members were as follows:
Pam Menz: Grade 2, Thatcher Brook
Anne Hutchinson: Grade 3, Thatcher Brook
Melinda Anderman: Grades 5/6, Crossett Brook
Brenda Hartshorn: Kindergarten, Moretown
Deb Fadden: Grade 4, Moretown
Ann Beattie, Kindergarten, Waitsfield
Ali Hale, Grade 4, Waitsfield
Jean Goldhammer, Grades 2, Fayston
Doug Bergstein, Grade 5/6, Fayston
Elizabeth Tarno, Grade 5/6, Warren

Following the implementation of all three programs the team came together to reach consensus on a final recommendation. The team reached consensus on moving forward with the Bridges In Mathematics program for implementation. Teachers in grades K-5 will begin training to use this program in June 2018, and will begin implementation in Fall of 2018. Bridges is a comprehensive math program that equips teachers to “fully implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in a manner that is rigorous, coherent, engaging, and accessible to all learners”. During the piloting process, teachers reported that their students were excited about solving mathematical problems and were seemingly understanding the mathematics at a deeper level. We look forward to working with these new program materials and to working collaboratively across all K-5 schools as we begin implementation.

Should you have any additional questions please contact Sheila Soule, Director of Curriculum, at (802) 583-7947.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Strategies for Classroom Dialogue

Strategies for Classroom Dialogue  Transforming Teaching and Learning through a Constructivist Approach 

3 Credit Course Offering
This course is designed to introduce participants to the philosophy and pedagogy of student centered classroom dialogue known as “Socratic Dialogue or the Harkness Pedagogy” Participants will learn how to design classroom lessons that move instruction from teacher-centered classrooms to student-driven learning. Participants will learn a range of techniques for teaching students to listen, collaborate, explore, and construct essential questions and understandings from classroom activities and texts. Teachers will learn how to implement Socratic Dialogue in a variety of disciplines and will have the opportunity to work with colleagues to plan lessons using these approaches. This course is appropriate for upper elementary through high school teachers.

 Instructor: Katherine Cadwell, Harwood Union HS Teacher, 2016 Rowland Fellow Dates: Four Days: June 25- 28,2018 and six two- hour sessions TBD throughout the fall semester Location: Harwood Union High School

 Registration Process: 1) Please click here to register
 2) WWSU (HUUSD) PD request form must also completed*
3) * SNHU Registration Form (provided before the start of class) must also be completed if taking the course for credit

 For more detailed information, contact Katherine Cadwell at kcadwell@wwsu.org See Strategies in Classroom Dialogue for an overview of this work

Monday, November 27, 2017

HUHS Socrates Cafe-November 13, 2017

Harwood Union High School welcomes author & philosopher Christopher Phillips for Socrates Cafe featuring Harwood teacher Kathy Cadwell, Joy Worland from the Joslin Memorial Library and Judi Byron of the Waterbury Public Library

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Getting Started With MAP Skills

Getting Started with MAP Skills

Included with our transition to MAP Growth- the two to three times per year assessment system that tracks student performance in Literacy and Math. HUUSD also has a subscript to MAP Skills --which is a skills mastery and progress monitoring assessment that helps teachers drill down to the specific skills each student needs to learn. 

MAP Skills is designed to be used between MAP Growth administrations to see exactly what struggling students are missing and advanced students are ready to take on—then adjust instruction in the moment and monitor student progress. While specifically designed for students in Grades 3-8, Skills can be assessed as enrichment for students in grades K-2 and for remediation in grades 9-12. Click Here for an information FACT SHEET about MAP Skills. 

This graphic shows how Growth and Skills work together to build concepts for improved performance. 

While not required during school year 2017-18, teachers should practice using this tool now and throughout the Spring in anticipation of a more formal implementation of the tool in 2018-19. SKILLS will easily support on-going DATA TEAM analysis of student performance and progress monitoring within our MTSS system. SKILLS also provides personalized practice for all students in grades 3-8 and can serve to compliment classroom instruction. Students find the "Missions" engaging and connect instantly to the dashboard view and content management display. 

For more information on getting started with MAP Skills please click this link. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 2017 Updates

Writing Portfolio Expectations 2017-18

Again this year student proficiency in writing will be assessed through a portfolio scoring process. Student portfolios in targeted grades should contain up to 5 pieces that demonstrate the student's best work across all genre (minimum of one piece per genre or 3 total). Additional effort should be made to sample student writing across the curriculum (e.g. science, health, social studies… etc).  

Writing samples can be selected from pieces that have gone through an editing process, but should reflect the student’s own ability to apply feedback obtained through indirect means such as conferencing, or self-assessment. While direct/specific feedback and explicit corrections may play a part in writing instruction- writing pieces that have been redrafted following this teacher-directed process would not be suitable measures of student proficiency.

The Scoring Process
This year scoring of student portfolios will take place over the course of the school year within the individual buildings on or before the dates specified below and agreed upon scores will be entered directly into ALPINE. Effort should be made to score student work in vertical teams rather than at individual grade levels. Please see the attached “Directions for Scoring Writing Portfolios”

Dates for Scoring
1st Piece- December 15, 2017
2nd Piece- March 30, 2018
Remainder of the Portfolio- June 8, 2018

Elementary Program Selection Updates

The Elementary Mathematics Program selection committee is transitioning to their third and final program under review. So far the team has implemented a unit from the new Investigations program, a unit from Bridges Mathematics, and last but not least will be Engage NY (Eureka Math). The team visited Rick Marcotte Central School in South Burlington in October to see Bridges Math in action, and will visit the Barre Town school to see Eureka Math. 

On December 15th the team will reach consensus on a recommendation for the administrative team on the program they feel best matches the criterion identified for evaluation. Following that, the administrative team will make the final decision and determine next steps. For more information about this process please follow this link

If you have questions about the team's experiences please contact our committee representatives directly

Warren- Elizabeth Tarno
Fayston- Doug Bergstein, Jean Goldhammer
Waitsfield- Ann Beattie, Ali Hale
Moretown- Brenda Hartshorn, Deb Fadden

Crossett Brook- Melinda Anderman
Thatcher Brook- Anne Hutchinson, Pam Menz

LTEE Updates

The HUUSD Leadership Team for Excellence in Education continues to work to monitor and implement aspects of our district-wide action plan. Specifically the work is carried out by four sub-committees, each of which is detailed below.  

Group 1. Flexible Pathways/ Passage Presentation- this group is currently focused on better aligning expectations and supporting implementation of Personal Learning Plans across our schools. In addition they are focused on the development of a Passage Presentation process to take place at the end of 8th grade (similar to the 9th grade process already in place). 

What is a Passage Presentation? 

In the HUUSD, students demonstrate growth and achievement of the Learning Expectations in two ways:

  • A portfolio of learning, and 
  • An aggregation of scores received through learning opportunities (courses) on identified Proficiencies

This process helps to ensure that all students are engaged in their learning and are on pace to be successful in the next grade to which they will advance. This process provides an authentic audience for formalized reflection on learning and helps to engage students in the curation of their Portfolio of Learning. 

What is a Portfolio of Learning?

A portfolio is a selected body of student work and reflections that provides evidence of a student’s progress toward the HUUSD Learning Expectations. The portfolio is the anchor for the Passage Presentation. Each student in 9th grade has a digital portfolio using Google Sites. This process will extend to 8th grade during the current school year. 

What is a Passage Presentation?

The passage presentation is an academic rite of passage: a benchmark presentation at the end of a pivotal year in which students demonstrate their readiness to move on to the next level of education. Students present evidence that they have learned key content, concepts, and skills as well as habits of work, by presenting a portfolio of work to a panel.

Rationale of the Passage Presentation

  • It empowers students to take the lead role in reflecting on their learning and actively thinking about their strengths, challenges, and next steps in the learning process. 
  • It creates a culture of evidence for learning and increases student engagement.
  • It pulls together an audience that includes some of the most important people in the lives of students to mark their growth and readiness as a scholar. 
  • It provides a practical foundation for the Senior Capstone project.

Logistics of the Passage Presentation

While this description needs to be update to reflect the current school year- this checklist provides a strong description of the reflective process students must engage in to be prepared for their presentations. Passage Presentation - Student Checklist
Students present to a core teacher, another school adult as available, and a small group of peers (2-4) and parents and/or other adults important to the student, are also invited. 

Group 2. PD/ Learning Community

This group has been primarily focused on improving the outcomes for our shared staff meetings- and they also have their eyes on future PD opportunities for district-wide inservice (include our full days in June 2018). As part of this process they have also surveyed administrators in reference to improving Professional Development for Support Staff. They maintain the primary objective of continual support for the shift to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) practices in all classrooms by providing time for teachers to work together in the planning process.  

Group 3. Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting

This group has been focused on developing the Proficiency-based Learning Expectations that will align with the Middle and High School level outcomes already in place. These expectations will be preliminary shared with staff at the November 14 staff meeting- while a more formalized version will be share later in January. In addition, the group has started to focus on the Verification of Proficiency at the 8th grade level. 

4. Equity

This group has been in consultation with Matt Kolan (presenter from last year's September inservice on Equity) and Shadiin Garcia. The focus on their work is to prepare to share and build upon the outcomes of our District Management Council (DMC) study conducted last year. The purpose of our continued consultation with Matt and Shadiin includes the following goals:

  • Identify areas of work that support the creation of school systems grounded in equity, access, inclusion and diversity that is manifested throughout the course of each student’s, staff member’s, teacher’s, and administrator’s experience.
  • Develop an equity plan that complements DMC’s methods and findings which will include strategies for engaging with the community
  • Develop a robust professional development scope and sequence for district employees and school boards with outcomes that enhance a professional skillset in operationalizing equity practices ranging from curricular content to human resources to leadership and more.

This group also plans an (elective) 2018 summer course that will increase our own understanding of equity in schools and build on our capacity to create improved outcomes for students. 

NGSS Statewide Science Assessment 

FROM: Amy Fowler, Deputy

The Vermont ESSA State Plan, developed by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) with significant stakeholder feedback, received official approval from the US Department of Education in September. As Vermont works to implement an accountability system that better reflects the state’s education priorities as stated in Education Quality Standards, changes will need to be made at the state and local level.

One such change is the development of a new science test that will be fully aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS-aligned assessment will be field-tested in May 2018 to ensure it meets standards of technical quality.
The NGSS-aligned assessment will be administered to students in grades 5, 8, and 11. This represents a change from practice in 2016-17, when the NECAP assessment was administered to grades 4, 8, and 11.

The AOE intends for this test to be administered via computer, and to make use of innovative item clusters that will make it possible to measure the full breadth of the NGSS standards. The assessment will include reports to parents and schools that clearly articulate student performance. Additionally, the assessment will include accommodations and accessibility features to provide access for a broad range of diverse student needs in Vermont.

At this time, the best way for schools to prepare for the new assessment is to ensure that local curriculum and instruction are fully aligned with NGSS. To answer additional questions regarding the NGSS-aligned assessment, the agency developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions.