March 20, 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians of students in grades 3-8,

This spring, districts across the state are required to administer an assessment for English/Language Arts and Mathematics from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in grades 3-8.   In addition, this is the first operational year of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) assessment which will be administered in grades 5 and 8.  

Testing Window

Testing windows are flexible within a designated period.  Grades 3-8 will need up to 6 sessions of testing.  Each session will take approximately 60 minutes a session for a total of 6 to 6.5 hours of testing for the SBAC administration.  However, since the SBAC test is untimed, students might use more time, or less time, to complete the tests. It is anticipated that the science assessment will add an additional 90-100 minutes in grades 5 and 8.  Please see the testing schedule on the website for details regarding the testing windows for the district.

When testing students, our priority continues to honor the needs of our students.  We minimize test prep that takes away precious time from real teaching and learning.  Preceding the testing, the district will carefully introduce the digital tools and the vocabulary necessary for our students to perform at their best and to be at ease in the testing environment. 

Features of the SBAC

The tests are administered online and are computer adaptive, meaning that the test questions change at a certain point based on student responses.  There is a range of question types.  Questions will be presented in a variety of formats using vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to students.  Some questions require the use of online digital tools.   Additionally, the SBAC will require typed responses only. The Connecticut State Department of Education Assessment Portal provides SBAC  and NGSS practice tests where students can experience using the tools and features available within the online assessment system.  This is by no means required by the district.


Some of the tests will require the use of headphones for oral directions and multimedia presentations. Although there will be access to headphones in the computer lab, parents may prefer to send students with earbuds or headphones during the testing window.

If you have any questions or concerns, I ask that you contact me directly at (203) 245-6300 or via email

Thank you,

Tom Scarice
Superintendent of Schools