Smarter Balanced assessments will replace existing tests in English and math. Administered online, they offer significant improvements over tests of the past, 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.
Digital Library on Formative Assessment
In 2013, Smarter Balanced Governing States formed State Leadership Teams (SLTs) and State Networks of Educators (SNEs). These networks—involving nearly 1,000 educators—developed the Digital Library of formative assessment tools and professional resources.
The Digital Library includes a series of assessment literacy and instructional modules in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. In addition, the library includes professional learning and instructional materials contributed by teachers. The library is interactive, allowing users to rate materials and to share their expertise with educators across the state or across the country. Teachers can quickly search the Digital Library by criteria such as grade level, Common Core standards referenced, target student population, formative assessment process attribute, and much more. Download the Digital Library Factsheet for more information about the library.
The Digital Library is available to educators in subscribing member states and territories. Teachers interested in accessing the Digital Library should contact their district coordinator.
To learn more about the formative assessment process, consult the Formative Assessment Process overview. This document provides an introduction to the formative assessment process for individual exploration, for professional learning communities, or for professional development sessions.
Digital Library Resources
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is committed to ensuring that all students leave high school prepared for postsecondary success. A balanced assessment system — which includes the formative assessment process as well as interim and summative assessments — provides tools to improve teaching and learning. The formative assessment process is an essential component of a balanced assessment system.
The Digital Library is an online collection of instructional and professional learning resources contributed by educators for educators. These resources are aligned with the intent of the Common Core State Standards and will help educators implement the formative assessment process to improve teaching and learning. The Digital Library incorporates collaboration features providing educators opportunities to review resources using a star rating system and share their expertise with colleagues across the country in online forums.
One opportunity for collaborating is through the Spotlight Forums. The purpose of the Digital Library Spotlight Forums is to connect state, district, and building leaders and teachers across Smarter Balanced member states to discuss timely topics facilitated by national experts and innovative practitioners. They feature webinars presented by resource authors followed by forum discussions facilitated by the authors.
Learn more about the Digital Library features through the recorded “live tours” below and view three sample resources in the Digital Library Modules slide deck. **To view the slide deck properly please download and select “Play Slide Show”.
Recorded “Live Tours”
Logging into the Digital Library and Browsing for Resources (YouTube)
Help Topic Presentations
- Getting Started in the Digital Library (PPT)
- Finding Resources in the Digital Library (PPT)
- Navigating Resources in the Digital Library (PPT)