State Policymakers

Smarter Balanced is a state-led consortium comprised of members that have come together to create a high-quality system of assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards to measure college and career readiness. Funded by the Race to the Top Assessment Program, Smarter Balanced assessments will be implemented in the 2014-15 school year.


State-Led, Transparent Governance

Smarter Balanced is led by state education officials with governing authority flowing from state education chiefs and elected officials. Each member state appoints K-12 and higher education leads to coordinate with the Consortium. State representatives direct the Executive Committee and participate in 10 Smarter Balanced work groups.

To join Smarter Balanced, states agree to abide by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the State’s Commissioner or Superintendent of Education, the Governor, and the President of the State School Board (if applicable). The MOU defines the Consortium’s governance and decision-making processes, describes how states may join or exit the Consortium, and specifies other membership requirements. In addition, all Smarter Balanced states must adopt the Common Core State Standards by December 31, 2011. To continue as a member after the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, a state must agree to use the Consortium’s tests as its federal accountability assessments.

A College- and Career-Ready Evaluation

The assessment system includes a rigorous computer adaptive summative test for grades 3-8 and 11 that provides accurate student performance and growth information to meet state and federal accountability requirements. In addition, optional computer adaptive interim assessments and formative resources aligned to the CCSS give teachers and principals the tools to help students meet today’s college- and career-ready standards. Results will be comparable nationwide and internationally benchmarked.

Support for Implementation

Smarter Balanced is committed to addressing the concerns of states and ensuring a successful transition to new assessments. A technology readiness tool will help states plan for the transition to online assessments. A paper-and-pencil version of the assessments will be available during a three-year transition period. In addition, the Consortium will also provide professional development and training for teams of educators from each state.

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