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 and field tests in 2012-13 and 2013-14 is essential to ensure that the assessments meet the needs of teachers and students.
To ensure a successful transition to the new assessments, Smarter Balanced will convene teacher cadres from each member state in the summer of 2013. These meetings will introduce professional development modules and exemplar modules of formative tasks and tools.
In addition, all teachers will have access to a digital library of research-based formative assessment practices, including:
- Examples of instructional best practices at each grade level;
- Strategies for cross-classroom collaboration; and
- Professional development resources, such as scoring rubrics for performance tasks that promote reliability on teacher-scored portions of the assessments.