Current law and the State Board of Education regulations require the administration of criterion-referenced tests (CRT), and norm-referenced tests (NRT). ALL students are expected to participate in state assessments.
Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, the state-mandated criterion-referenced testing was combined with norm-reference testing to form the Augmented Benchmark Exams at grades 3-8.
The Augmented Benchmark Examinations include the CRT component, which focuses on measuring student performance on items specifically developed by Arkansas teachers and the Arkansas Department of Education that align with the Arkansas Mathematics and English Language Arts Curriculum Frameworks. The NRT component, focuses on rank-ordering student performance based on national norms and contains items in the subsections of reading comprehension, math problem solving, and language.
Additionally, in grades 5 and 7, the Augmented Benchmark Examinations contain a science portion, which includes CRT items that align specifically to the Arkansas Science Curriculum Frameworks and NRT items in science.
In grades 9-12, the state-mandated CRTs include:
The Grade 11 Literacy Examination includes items that are aligned to the Arkansas English Language Arts Curriculum Framework. The End-of-Course Examinations include items that are aligned to the standards of specific courses contained within the Arkansas Mathematics and Science Curriculum Frameworks. Items for both the Grade 11 Literacy Examination and End-of-Course Examinations were developed by Arkansas teachers and the Arkansas Department of Education.
The Arkansas Alternate Portfolio Assessment System is designed to evaluate the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities for whom the aforementioned examinations, administered with or without appropriate accommodations, are not appropriate. The Alternate Portfolio must be administered for literacy in grades 3-8 and 11, mathematics in grades 3-8, and science for grades 5 and 7. All 9th grade students with disabilities who are not taking algebra I or geometry must be assessed with an alternate portfolio for math. Additionally, all 10th grade students with disabilities who are not taking biology must be assessed with an alternate portfolio for science.
Norm-referenced testing, presently The Iowa Tests, is administered in grade 1, grade 2 and grade 9 in reading comprehension and math problem solving.
The Qualls Early Learning Inventory (QELI) is administered at the beginning of the school year to all kindergarten students and to any first grade student who did not attend kindergarten.
For more information, please contact:
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall, Room 305-B
Little Rock, AR 72201