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Montana Office of Public Instruction's Executive Staff

OPI Staff

The Internet Services Bureau

Denise Juneau, Superintendent

Schools Begin Practice Run of New Online Assessment

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On March 25, schools in Montana began their participation in the field test of the new statewide student assessment, the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This new, online assessment will replace our current paper-and-pencil CRT assessment in English Language Arts and mathematics.

As this practice run gets underway, I want to remind schools that there are no stakes this year when it comes to the field test. The purpose of the field test is to help ensure the future assessment is valid, reliable, and fair for all students.

This is our opportunity to get a look at the types of questions that will be on the assessment in 2015, to test out school district technology and figure out the best way to schedule the administration of the test, and for students to get a chance to try out the online tools that come with the new assessment.

We expect to learn a lot from this year’s practice run to help inform future assessments. Below you will find the contact information for Smarter Balanced, Montana Educational Technologies Association (META) and the OPI Assessment Unit to help you with any trouble-shooting needs that you have.

Thank you for your participation in this important effort.

Smarter Balanced Help Desk:
Hours: 5 am – 10 pm MDT
Online Help Chat: http://sbac.portal.airast.org/contact-us/  

For hardware, software and connectivity questions:
META toll-free help desk: 1-844-510-6555

For questions related to testing administration, student accommodations, and students with accessibility issues:
Judy Snow, Assessment Director, OPI

Denise Juneau signature.gif
Denise Juneau, Superintendent

Spotlight On:

Statewide ACT Test

Nearly 10,000 public school juniors will take the ACT Plus Writing test on Wednesday, April 23 at no cost to their families, thanks to a partnership between the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education's (OCHE's) Montana GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program).

In 2011, OCHE was awarded a seven-year, $28 million GEAR UP grant, a portion of which will cover the cost of every public high school junior in Montana having access to the ACT Plus Writing test for the next four years. This is the second year that every public school junior in Montana will have access to the ACT at no cost.

Benefits of statewide ACT testing for all public school juniors include: the testing will occur during a school day, students do not have to drive to testing sites, and there will be a make-up day on May 7 for those students unable to attend the April 23 testing day. Students can also send their test results to as many as four colleges at no cost.

For more information, go to the OPI Assessment webpage. Students can find access to tips, practice tests and online prep on the ACT student webpage.