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First N.H. Students Begin Taking 'Smarter Balanced' Test

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Schools in New Hampshire started to administer a brand new standardized test Monday.

Ever since 2005, students all over New England have taken a standardized-test called the NECAP in 3rd through 8th grade and once more in high school, but this year the pencil-and-paper NECAP was replaced with an online test, the Smarter Balanced.

The Smarter Balanced is “adaptive,” meaning the questions get harder or easier depending on which questions the student gets correct.

Some teachers worry the test will be more difficult for students without access to computers, but 8th grader Dillon Roux, from Manchester, is unconcerned, saying “I’m better with computers.”

The Smarter Balanced is also expected to be more difficult than the NECAP, but Roux’s brother, 4th grader Chris Hunt, thinks he’ll be able to handle it. “It’s math and I’m really good at Math,” he says.

They’ll both soon find out. Schools have 12 weeks to administer the assessment, which takes each student 7 or 8 hours to complete both the Math and English portions.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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