Evaluation and Assessment

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a state-led consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure student progress toward college- and career-readiness. Smarter Balanced is one of two multi-state consortia awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year.

The work of Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system can provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction and help students succeed – regardless of disability, language or subgroup. Smarter Balanced involves experienced educators, researchers, state and local policy makers and community groups working together in a transparent and consensus-driven process.

Resources for Educators

Smarter Balanced is committed to supporting member states as they implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Working with educators, Smarter Balanced is identifying high-quality curriculum resources aligned to the CCSS and professional development strategies that will be integrated into a digital library of formative assessment resources that will launch in fall 2014.

Many organizations have developed resources to explain the standards and help teachers support student success in the classroom and prepare for the assessments. Smarter Balanced recently updated the Common Core State Standards Tools and Resources web page with links to fact sheets, videos, and instructional resources that provide detailed information for educators, parents, and policy makers about the new standards

Smarter Balanced Practice Tests

Teachers, parents, and students across the country can now access Smarter Balanced Practice Tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The Consortium recently released sets of example test questions for grades 3–8 and 11 in both English language arts/literacy and mathematics. The Practice Tests will help schools prepare for the implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System in the 2014-15 school year.

The Practice Tests provide a preview of the types of questions that will be featured in the summative assessment beginning in 2014-15, including selected-response items, constructed-response items, technology-enhanced items, and performance tasks—extended activities that challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to real-world problems.

The Practice Tests do not include all the features of the operational assessments. For example, students and teachers will not receive reports or scores from the Practice Tests. Although Smarter Balanced assessments will be computer adaptive, the Practice Tests follow a fixed-form model. Smarter Balanced will make enhancements to the Practice Tests, including the addition of performance tasks in mathematics, new accommodations for students with disabilities, and scoring rubrics.