These assessments will go beyond multiple choice to include performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate research, writing, and analytical skills. The assessments are designed to give teachers the feedback they need to inform instruction, and the tools to improve teaching and learning.
In addition to a year-end summative assessment, Smarter Balanced will include optional interim assessments that allow teachers to measure student progress throughout the year. Results from the interim assessments will provide a better understanding of each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Teachers will have the flexibility to access student results and supporting resources as needed through a secure, online system.
Smarter Balanced is collaborating with teachers to develop test items and pilot the new assessments. Teams of teachers from each state will also evaluate formative assessment practices and resources to support the new assessments. Teacher feedback during the Pilot Test in spring 2013 and the Field Test in spring 2014 is essential to ensure that the assessments meet the needs of teachers and students.
In 2013, Smarter Balanced Governing States formed State Leadership Teams (SLTs) and State Networks of Educators (SNEs). These networks – involving nearly 2,000 educators – are working to develop a digital library of formative assessment tools and professional learning resources that will be available in 2014.
The Digital Library will include a series of assessment literacy and exemplar instructional modules in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. In addition, the library will include professional learning and instructional materials contributed by SLTs and SNEs. The library will be interactive, allowing users to rate materials and to share their expertise with educators across the state or across the country.
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