Guam Education Board approves adoption of Smarter Balanced Assessment System

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During its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 19, the Guam Education Board (GEB) adopted the Smarter Balanced Assessment System as the department’s state-wide assessment, replacing the ACT Aspire after 6 years of administration. The board voted unanimously on adoption (9-0).

The Smarter Balanced Assessment System was developed and is made available through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) a collaboration of 15 states and territories who partnered together to develop high-quality assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The consortium includes states such as Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

In January 2021, ACT informed the GDOE that they will be discontinuing the ACT Aspire this coming school year, prompting the GDOE to search for and adopt a new assessment as required by the U.S. Department of Education for SY2021-22. Luckily, ACT recently informed the GDOE that they will be able to provide the test for one more year to support GDOE’s transition to a new system.

The assessment tests students in English Language Arts and Math in grades 3rd through 8th and one grade in high school as required by the Every Child Succeeds Act. In addition to the end of the year assessments, the system provides a set of interim assessments to use throughout the school year to monitor student progress along with a variety of teacher resources and sample tests items that educators can use to help teach students the standards.

Aligned to the Common Core State Standards, the SBAC assessments tests college and career readiness skills in the subjects of English Language Arts and math and are recognized as a more rigorous set of assessments that require higher-level thinking skills, problem-solving, and real-world application of knowledge and skills.

“We’re excited that the Board is allowing us to take this next step in implementing an assessment adopted by a larger number of states and territories,” said Superintendent Jon Fernandez. “With its teacher and student resources, this system is sure to help us better align our curriculum, instruction, and assessment strategies throughout the district.”

The GDOE will begin its transition to the SBAC starting in the summer of 2022 in preparation for administration at the end of SY2022-23.

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