What Educators Should Know
The Smarter Balanced assessment system is a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and careers. Developed in collaboration with K-12 teachers and higher education faculty, these new assessments provide an academic check-up and are designed to give teachers better information to help students succeed.
Smarter Balanced assessments replace existing tests in English and math. Administered online, they offer significant improvements over tests of the past by including writing at every grade, expanded accessibility features to meet the needs of all students, and performance tasks that ask students to demonstrate an array of research, writing, and problem solving skills.
More than Just a Year-End Test
In addition to a year-end summative assessment, the Smarter Balanced assessment system includes optional interim assessments that allow teachers to measure student progress during the year. Schools will have two flexible administration options: Interim Comprehensive Assessments that mirror the year-end assessments; or Interim Assessment Blocks that focus on smaller sets of related standards and provide more detailed information for instructional purposes.
Teachers also have access to the Digital Library, an online collection of resources aligned to the Common Core and designed to help improve classroom-based assessment practices. More information about the Digital Library is available below.
Used by Higher Education
More than 200 colleges and universities in seven Smarter Balanced member states have already decided to use the assessments as a factor in determining whether students are ready for credit-bearing courses. Learn more about how Smarter Balanced scores are used by colleges and universities.
Use Practice Tests to learn more about the assessments and help students prepare. Check them out!
Scoring guides include details about items, student response types, and correct responses. Go to the guides!
The Digital Library
The Digital Library is an online collection of instructional and professional learning resources contributed by educators for educators. It includes a series of interactive assessment literacy and instructional modules in English language arts/literacy and math. Library resources are aligned with the intent of the Common Core State Standards and help educators implement the formative assessment process to improve teaching and learning. The library is collaborative and interactive, allowing users to rate materials and share their expertise with other educators in online forums.
Educators can quickly filter Digital Library resources by grade level, Common Core standards, target student population, formative assessment process attribute, and much more. Download the Digital Library Factsheet for more information about the library.
How do I access the Digital Library?
The Digital Library is available to educators in subscribing member states and territories. If you’re interested in accessing the Digital Library, please contact your district coordinator.
Spotlight Webinars highlight Digital Library resources on timely and relevant topics. The webinars are facilitated by national experts and innovative practitioners. Spotlight Forums connect educators across Smarter Balanced member states to discuss the resources with the authors. Learn more:
More about Formative Assessment
- Formative Assessment Process overview (PDF): An introduction to the formative assessment process for individual exploration, professional learning communities, or professional development sessions
- Formative Assessment in Action: A video series from the California Department of Education.
- Sample resources in the Digital Library Modules PowerPoint (Select “Play Slide Show” to view the slide deck properly.)