National Evaluations Again Confirm Quality and Alignment of Smarter Balanced End-of-Year Test

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Two more external evaluations have declared Smarter Balanced to be a high-quality test strongly aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The Smarter Balanced high school test received the highest possible ratings.

The extensive alignment studies—conducted in grades 5 and 8 by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and in high school by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO)—evaluated Smarter Balanced end-of-year tests against the high-quality assessment criteria created by the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Based on the CCSSO criteria, the evaluations from Fordham and HumRRO affirmed Smarter Balanced tests are high quality, receiving good or excellent ratings across the two reports.

These high marks echo complimentary feedback from a 2015 report from the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. The nation’s best teachers said Smarter Balanced is designed to measure whether underlying concepts have been taught and learned, rather than reflecting mostly test-taking skills.

“These evaluations confirm the work of educators in our member states, who built this system from the ground up to measure students’ college and career readiness,” said Tony Alpert, Executive Director of Smarter Balanced. “Smarter Balanced received good or excellent ratings in eight out of eight categories. We are confident our assessment system will continue to be recognized as an historic and groundbreaking system to improve teaching and learning.”

More than 220 colleges and universities in eight states representing public higher education systems and select private institutions already recognize the superior quality of the Smarter Balanced high school test and use the assessment system to help students further their postsecondary education. These institutions have agreed to use scores from the Smarter Balanced high school assessments as evidence that students are ready for credit-bearing courses and can bypass non-credit, developmental courses. This is welcomed news to parents, policymakers, and students, who know remediation costs additional time and money.

Read HumRRO’s high school assessment alignment study.

Read the Fordham Institute’s assessment alignment study on grades 5 and 8.