Testing Technology

Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)

A core feature of Smarter Balanced assessments is that they are customized for each student for a more accurate measurement for every student. To accomplish this, the computer-based test adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment based on the student’s response. If a student answers a question correctly, the next question will be harder; if a student answers incorrectly, the next question will be easier. This system is called computer adaptive testing, and it is part of the summative (end-of-year) assessments.

Technology for Learning

Smarter Balanced sponsors the development of innovative open-source technology to improve both the testing experience and the ability to measure students’ skills. Employing new technologies allows us to:

  • Accurately and efficiently measure student achievement and growth through computer adaptive testing;
  • Develop real-world test items that assess the breadth of the Common Core State Standards for virtually all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners;
  • Enhance professional development and capacity building for teachers and administrators at the local level; and
  • Leverage members’ resources to deliver assessments and produce reports that are cost-effective and timely, as well as useful for teachers, students, and parents to track progress towards college- and career-readiness.

We have developed an open-source platform for delivering assessments. Details about this software and how it may be used to benefit other organizations are available at SmarterApp.org.

Test-Taking Devices

Smarter Balanced requires that testing devices meet certain minimum requirements and that they run in an approved secure browser. The official Smarter Balanced policy regarding testing devices is encompassed in the Technology Strategy Framework and Testing Device Requirements. The Student Device and Secure Browser Requirements provide information on universal requirements, the current list of approved secure browsers and corresponding devices, and a list of sunset dates after which certain operating system versions will not be supported.

Guide To Technology Readiness
This guide is intended to help school leaders better understand, plan for, and manage the technology necessary for successful administration of Smarter Balanced assessments.
Download the Guide