Washington State Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
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 about Smarter Balanced
 in Washington state:

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 the Practice Test:
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Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a bipartisan, state-led group developing assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math.

The consortium’s executive director, Joe Wilhoft, wrote an article for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in February 2014 entitled, “Smarter Balanced assessments: A big moment for our schools.” In the article, he summarizes the history of, and transition to, these new tests.

Have questions about the Smarter Balanced assessments? OSPI has begun a webinar series. The webinars are posted online soon after they occur, along with Q & A documents. Many questions you have may be addressed either in the Q & A or in the webinar itself.

The Common Core standards require a practical, real-life application of knowledge that prepares Washington students for success in college, work and life.

More than just a once-a-year test, Smarter Balanced is a system:

There are three components in the Smarter Balanced system: Digital Library, Interim Assessments and Summative Assessments. The Washington state Legislature has provided funds to pay for all schools to have access to all three components. The only Smarter Balanced cost that might not be fully covered by the state is the cost of the summative test in paper/pencil format (an option available to schools for the first three years). The fee for the paper/pencil summative test is not yet determined.

The Digital Library will consist of professional development materials to improve the quality of information collected through daily classroom activities. These on-demand materials will be aligned to the Common Core standards and Smarter Balanced claims and assessment targets.

When complete in mid-2014, the Smarter Balanced Digital Library will provide educators with professional development materials and instructional resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced assessment system. Also included will be resources to interpret and make use of the data and reports from the Smarter Balanced summative and interim assessments. An online collaboration platform will give educators a place to share how they are using the resources. Smarter Balanced will also provide access to a bank of interim assessment items for states using the Digital Library.

“Summative” assessments are required. They will take place during the last 12 weeks of the school year. These computer-based tests will help schools evaluate how well their students performed by comparing them with students from other schools across the nation. The end-of-year assessments also will empower families by providing them with a clear indication of how well their children are progressing toward mastering the academic knowledge and skills necessary for college and career readiness.

“Interim” assessments are optional. They are flexible, non-secure periodic assessments to be offered at teachers’ and schools’ discretion throughout the school year. These computer-based tests will provide meaningful feedback that teachers can use to help students succeed.

How will Smarter Balanced be integrated into our state assessment system?
Our assessment system is determined by the state legislature. How these new tests will fit into the assessment system has not yet been finalized across all grades. To receive updates as they become available, please sign up for OSPI’s monthly e-newsletter TEACH.
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Here’s what we know:

Starting in the 2014-15 school year,

  • The new Smarter Balanced tests will replace the math, reading and writing portions of the MSP students in grades 3-8. The science portion of the MSP (tested in grades 5 and 8) will remain the same.
  • 11th graders will take the high school level of the new Smarter Balanced tests, but meeting standard on the tests is not a graduation requirement until the Class of 2019.
  • Students will not take the new Smarter Balanced tests in grades K-2, 9, 10 or 12.

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