School districts to test out next generation of student assessments

Several school districts across our region will be participating in a pilot program to help shape the next generation of student assessment tests across the country.

Some schools in our region will be testing out the new Smarter Balanced Assessment tests.

The new tests are aligned with new education standards, and they are designed to measure student progress toward career and college readiness.

A handful of schools in Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, Finley, Walla Walla and Yakima will be participating in the pilot program.

The new tests will focus on math, english, language arts and reading, and they'll be given to certain students this school year.

At Wiley Elementary School in West Richland, 5th graders will take the math portion of the test in April.

Educators there say participating in the pilot program will help them get ahead of the curve.

"For us, it's one of those things, realizing that the bars are gonna be raised a little bit higher. And not that that's a bad thing, it's actually a good thing. But it just makes us realize the efforts that we have to put forward to help our students achieve that next level" said Marc Nelson, Wiley Elementary School principal.

Nelson says after administering the pilot tests, teachers at Wiley Elementary may make changes to their curriculum to line up more with the new standards.

After students take the tests, test developers will review the results, and they will make adjustments.

Then in spring 2015, the tests will be fully implemented.

They will replace the current Measurement of Student Progress tests for reading, math and writing, and the High School Proficiency exams for reading and writing.

More than 160 schools across Washington are participating in the pilot program.

Those schools will never see the results of the pilot tests.