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Letter from the Secretary

DOE Homepage
SD Department of Education March 2015  


Important reminders for testing coordinators
Smarter Balanced: What you need to know as testing begins

With the Smarter Balanced testing window opening soon, here are some key things you can do to help ensure success in your district.

Get to know the portal
Get to know South Dakota’s Smarter Balanced portal at http://sd.portal.airast.org. This is your home for Smarter Balanced, including important messages and updates:

Portions of the portal are password-protected. If someone in your district is still in need of a username and password, contact Jan Martin, assessment coordinator for the South Dakota Department of Education.

Work with your district technology coordinator
Districts need to load secure browsers on any computers and/or other devices students will be using to take the assessment. The browsers used for last year’s field test will not work. District technology coordinators can find information about the new browsers on the Smarter Balanced portal.

Remember practice and training tests
The link to practice and training tests is on the main page of the Smarter Balanced portal. Teachers and students should be utilizing these tests to get familiar with the testing interface.

Watch webinars and attend Friday open forums
The department’s office of assessment has recorded a series of webinars on the various elements of the Smarter Balanced portal. Find them on the portal’s homepage.

Most Fridays throughout the testing window, the Office of Assessment will also host open online forums on various testing topics. Attending forums is optional. Jan Martin will email weekly meeting information to test coordinators, who are encouraged to share it with anyone who might want to participate. All forums will be recorded and posted online.

Send parent letters
Sample parent letters can be found at http://doe.sd.gov/octe/SMARTERbalanced.aspx. Districts are not required to use the letters in their entirety, but it is recommended that districts inform parents about testing and when it will be occurring.

Get to know your district’s DOE contact
As in past years, each district will be assigned a contact person within the department’s office of assessment who will be available for support. Department staff will also conduct informal drop-in visits throughout the testing window to see how test administration is going.

For more information, contact Jan Martin, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-3246.

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