Smarter Balanced Update December 2015

December 9, 2015
Community Members,
Last spring for the first time, students across New Hampshire took the 2015 statewide Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and English language arts. We can be proud that students in the Oyster River Cooperative School District did well compared to their peers across the state.

Although not directly comparable, the results were consistent with the precious statewide assessment, the NECAP, which Smarter Balanced replaced. Smarter Balanced is intended to let teachers and parents understand what students know and can do in mathematics and in English and to learn more about their strengths and areas where they can improve. All students have areas where they are doing well and areas where they can grow.

In addition to individual student results, ORCSD receives information on student performance at the District level. Smarter Balanced is scored on a four‐point rubric. A score of “3” or “4” indicates that a student at a given grade level is proficient or above. While no single assessment tells us everything, statewide testing provides us information on how our students are doing compared to the state and provide an indication on how students are doing on a given question or topic.

All teachers, principals and staff in Oyster River Schools want to assist all students with gaining the knowledge and skills they need each year so that they are ready for the next step in learning. Our school District is committed to preparing our high school graduates for college, careers and citizenship. Assessing along the way helps us know whether we are on a path to meet this goal,
and helps us identify not just how to support individual students better, but how we, as teachers and school leaders, could improve ORCSD. Smarter Balanced is a snapshot in time; a better indicator of a child’s performance comes from the formative assessments given by ORCSD teachers on a regular basis. A child’s teacher or teachers gets to know their students over an extended period of time and can provide parents an in depth analysis of student progress. The attached table provides information about how ORCSD students’ are progressing as a whole. The aggregate performance for grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11 is attached. As noted earlier, the District did well compared to other districts in the state. It is a credit to our staff and our families that our students are so well prepared for the world beyond ORCSD.

Dr. James C. Morse Sr.
Superintendent of Schools