Dear GMS Parents and Caregivers,
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) remains committed to administering the state academic assessments to the fullest extent possible in 2020-2021. We recognize that the thought of conducting high-stakes assessments can lead to concern and anxiety. However, Ajit Gopalakrishnan, the CSDE Chief Performance Officer, best articulates why we need to assess our students: "Having results in 2020-21 will allow us to monitor long-term trends and evaluate the full impact of the pandemic on student achievement and growth. It will also provide us with accurate data to target support and resources where they are needed the most so that any negative impact of this pandemic on student learning is short-lived." Undoubtedly, the pandemic has caused significant interruptions to the continuity of public education. To strategically counter its impact, we need to gather all forms of data, including formative assessment data.
The CSDE expects school-wide participation; thus, all students, those who attend in-person, and distance learners are expected to participate. The secure testing system has been upgraded to allow distance learners to take the tests in-person or remotely. Remote proctoring is a process in which a student engages in a Smarter Balanced or NGSS Assessment in the home environment, and the test administrator is not physically present. This new remote proctoring feature allows teachers to broadcast chat messages to students during a test session, and students can respond by sending chat messages back to their teachers. Additionally, students and teachers can communicate in real-time through a one-on-one video conference feature built into the online testing system.
GMS maintains that the best testing environment is in-person; thus, GMS administration and staff encourage distance learners to take the tests in the school setting; however, we understand that this may not be a viable option for some families. To summarize, GMS will follow the below administration structure:
Students attending in-person school mode must be tested in person.
Students who are distance learners can be tested in-person (preferred method) or remotely. Remote administration is available only for those students who are distance learners and cannot take the tests in person.
The Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs) have been integrated into our school-wide assessment plan to help prepare for these assessments. Grade-level teams have administered IABs in both a standardized and non-standardized method. The majority of the GMS student population has taken at least four IABs, two ELA and two Math. Additionally, 8th graders have been exposed to at least one NGSS IAB.
It is our hope through the administration of the IABs that our students and teachers will have the experience and knowledge to take and perform well on the state summative assessments confidently. If you have any questions, please reach out to your child's school counselor or his or her grade-level administrator.
School Summative Assessment Coordinator