Sanborn Approved For Ground Breaking Assessment Pilot: An Article by Dr. Brian Blake, Superintendent of Schools



The following announcement comes from Dr. Brian Blake, Superintendent of Schools for the Sanborn Regional School District:

Two weeks ago, Governor Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE) Commissioner Virginia Barry announced that the U.S. Department of Education approved a new pilot program for accountability strategy for measuring school success.

The model, known simply as Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE), was developed by the State in partnership with Sanborn and three other school districts (Rochester, Epping, and Souhegan). These four districts were chosen to develop this model because we are considered leaders in competency education, a system designed to increase both rigor and college and career readiness in all classrooms and grade levels.

The PACE model is based on the idea that one single standardized test taken in each grade level would no longer be the single measure of a school’s success. Instead, the standardized test would be used for some grade levels and a series of quality performance assessments would be used in other grade levels. Performance assessments are complex, multi-part tasks that ask students to apply what they have learned in sophisticated ways.

What does this mean for your child?  In the coming weeks, students throughout the State will be participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC), the Assessment taking the place of NECAP.  In Sanborn, students in the 3rd grade will take the English/Language Arts Assessment of SBAC.  Students in the 4th grade will take the Mathematics Assessment while students in grades 8 and 11 will take both assessments.  In all other grades, students will take the performance assessments as part of their classroom activities.  The assessments are designed to be part of the daily activities in the classroom as opposed to a separate event.  The performance assessments will be scored both locally and by a team of outside assessment experts.

The Sanborn Regional School District has been developing our competency-based system over the past 5 years, resulting in a shift of our focus from NECAP testing and ranking to a more rigorous model of assessment.  Over the past year, the four school districts involved have spent considerable time developing the performance assessments that will be used in the assessment program. The performance assessments have been vetted by local, state and national experts who specialize in the design of assessments.

The Sanborn Regional School District is proud to be a part of an exciting initiative aimed at reducing over-testing and using a more relevant set of tools that target rigorous classroom instruction to measure the success of its academic programming. Sanborn is proud to be a leader in what promises to be a new age in school accountability in our nation.

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