MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama is creating new state assessments for students to take in the Spring of 2020. State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said the change would help better prepare students and teachers.
"So we believe we're going to roll out what will be the strongest assessment system the state's ever seen and one of the strongest in the country," Mackey said.
The Alabama State Board of Education chose Data Recognition Corporation as Alabama's new testing vendor. The board got rid of the previous vendor ACT Arise, and currently the state is using Scantron until the new tests are created.
"This bridge in between is not going to be all smooth," he said. "There's gonna be some rough roads as we try to go from one assessment to another one to another one."
However, Mackey believes the new test will have some of the most robust resources for teachers.
"It's gonna offer some components that teachers haven't had before as far as accessibility, some support resources, some tutoring resources," he said.
They are looking at providing formative tests that teachers can give students throughout the year. It would help teachers design their lessons.
Mackey said the new testing vendor will release 25 percent of the questions from the previous tests back to teachers. Ryan Hollingsworth, the executive director of School Superintendents of Alabama, said this will help both students and teachers.
"And will allow our teachers to then use it as sample questions so we can see what type of question, how is the question presented and asked and allow our students to experience that prior to the assessment," Hollingsworth said.
Students can see these sample questions as well. Hollingsworth said some students taking state assessments could be nervous, scared, intimidated, and might not perform well.
"So if you're going to relieve some anxiety before the assessment with those sample questions, that's a great benefit to our students," he said.
Mackey said teachers will know the types of questions asked, and can better tailor their lessons to their students.
"But the teacher may want to know, exactly how is that measured on the test. Is that a multiple choice, are they actually having to use a measuring instrument? Is it a conversion of measurements?" he said.
Mackey said it would take around 18 months to prepare the new tests. He said he expects the tests to be ready by Spring of 2020.