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 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:
“Summative” tests 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” tests 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.
A digital library will consist of professional development materials, resources and tools built by teachers, for teachers, to improve the quality of information collected through daily classroom activities. These materials will be aligned to the Common Core standards and Smarter Balanced claims and assessment targets. They will be available on-demand.
NOTE: OSPI is establishing a group of qualified K-12 educators, administrators and higher education faculty, called Washington’s
State Network of Educators, to help inform the design and development of the Smarter Balanced Digital Library.
Smarter Balanced has a consensus-based
governance structure. Members include Governing States, Advisory States and Affiliate members. Washington is the
"Lead Procurement State" and oversees the Consortium's funding.
The Consortium is developing the tests with input of K-12 teachers and higher education faculty from Smarter Balanced Governing States, content experts and students.
All key documents and practice tests are available to the public on the
Smarter Balanced Web site.
Pilot Test was presented to students at about 5,000 schools across the Consortium.
Field Test of the entire pool of Smarter Balanced items is expected to involve students in about 15 percent to 20 percent of Consortium schools, and will gather the information necessary for final evaluation of item quality.
We need your help: OSPI is looking for qualified educators to assist in the development of assessments to accompany the Common Core standards. Educators selected from Washington will work with educators from each of the Consortium’s governing states.
Washington is an active participant in the Consortium. This gives us an
opportunity to participate in pilot testing.
Scientific Sample Pilot (February 20-May 24, 2013): Schools recruited as part of the scientific sample administered one content area (either English language arts or math) in up to two grades. Although the assessment was untimed, it was expected to last approximately three hours. (List of schools that have agreed to participate in the Scientific Pilot:
XLSX or PDF).
Practice Test (Available beginning May 29, 2013): Due to the overwhelming demand for access to the Volunteer Pilot assessment from principals, teachers, parents and the public, Smarter Balanced released a more complete and more broadly available “Practice Test.” Like the planned Volunteer Pilot, the Practice Test allows students to experience items that look and function like those found on the Scientific Pilot and is available to everyone. It does not require a unique username and password, and advanced registration is not necessary. Schools and districts may use the Practice Test for professional development activities. And it can be used for discussions with parents, policymakers, and anyone else who is interested in seeing what Smarter Balanced is all about.
The Consortium has also released several sample items that show examples of how the new Smarter Balanced assessment system assesses the Common Core.
OSPI will be asking as many districts as possible to field test next school year, but we do not yet have details. We hope to have more info by the end of the
Field testing will take place in 2013-14. Questions should be sent to
Smarter Balanced will adhere to all federal and state privacy laws, including, but not limited to, the
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The Consortium will not share identifiable student-level data with the federal government. The
Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008,
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the
Education Reform Sciences Act of 2002, and the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) all prohibit the creation of a federal database with students’ personally identifiable information.
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.
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.
- High school students will be required to pass five exams (or their
state-approved alternatives) to graduate: End-of-Course (EOC) exams in algebra I, geometry and biology, and High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE) in reading and writing. This is subject to change, depending on legislative action.
- 11th graders will take the high school level of the new Smarter Balanced tests.
- Students will not take the new Smarter Balanced tests in grades K-2, 9, 10 or 12.
If you have questions about Smarter Balanced specific to Washington state, please contact