What is Smarter Balanced?

Smarter Balanced is…

  • A Better Assessment System

    Using Smarter Balanced instructional resources, teachers can support student learning. Teachers can also use optional and flexible interim tests to check student progress throughout the year. Summative, or end-of-year tests, measure student achievement and growth in English and math in grades 3–8 and high school. Learn about our complete system.

  • A Customized Assessment

    Students take a customized test using a computer adaptive format: questions get harder when students answer correctly and easier when they answer incorrectly, allowing students to better demonstrate what they know. Read more about testing technology.

  • Designed for All Students

    Additional supports make the assessments accessible to students with disabilities and English language learners. Explore accessibility and accomodations features.

  • Relevant to College and Career

    The online format with extended research, writing, and problem solving tasks measure the critical thinking and problem-solving skills students need for success. Learn what makes the assessment useful for life after high school.

  • Useful for Teachers

    Our system helps inform instruction and identify where students need more support. Professional development materials and instructional resources are available to teachers to use all year to meet students’ individual needs. Go to the Educators page for more information.

It made me want to try, since I got to explain my reasoning and why I chose what I chose.Student from Idaho
New state standards are challenging students to understand subject matter more deeply, think more critically, and apply their learning to the real world. To measure these new state standards, educators from Smarter Balanced states worked together to develop new, high-quality assessments in English and math for grades 3–8 and high school. These Smarter Balanced assessments provide more accurate and meaningful information about what students are learning by adapting to each student’s ability, giving teachers and parents better information to help students succeed in school and after.

By the Numbers


took the 2017 end-of-year test in 12 states, the US Virgin Islands, and the Bureau of Indian Education.


helped develop and review test questions, set achievement levels, and develop the Digital Library.

test items

consisting of questions and performance tasks have been created to date.

About Us

Smarter Balanced is a public agency currently supported by its members. Through the work of thousands of educators, we created an online assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), as well as tools for educators to improve teaching and learning. Smarter Balanced is housed at the University of California Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Extension.

Our work 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. We involve experienced educators, researchers, state and local policymakers, and community groups working together in a transparent and consensus-driven process.