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What is Smarter Balanced?

BY JOE WILLHOFT

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education awarded grants to two state consortia, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, to develop next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards for implementation in 2014-15.

The Smarter Balanced assessment system includes formative, interim and summative components that work together to provide actionable information to improve teaching and learning. The assessment system is designed to give states maximum flexibility to meet local needs — through optional interim assessments and on-demand formative strategies and practices — while covering the full depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in the Common Core State Standards for students in grades 3-8 and 11.

Both the year-end summative assessment and interim assessments will be computer adaptive and include innovative items and performance tasks to measure the skills and knowledge that students need to be college- and career-ready. The optional interim assessments can be used to benchmark student progress throughout the year, and educators will have the flexibility to administer an assessment on an entire grade’s worth of subject matter or a subset of concepts.

Smarter Balanced is composed of 25 member states that educate approximately 19 million students from Hawaii to Maine. Twenty-one governing states play an active role in making decisions and steering the direction of the assessments. Four advisory states play a nonbinding, participatory role.

Governing states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Advisory states: Alabama, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. 

 

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