Smarter Balanced Names Kapinus Lead English Language Arts Specialist

Reading Expert to Oversee Assessment Development and Build Partnerships with Leaders in the Field

OLYMPIA, Wash. May 11, 2012 – The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) today announced the appointment of Barbara Kapinus, Ph.D., as the Director of English Language Arts and Literacy for the Consortium. Kapinus recently retired from the National Education Association (NEA), where she served as a senior policy analyst and facilitated teacher feedback on the Common Core State Standards.


As the English language arts and literacy (ELA/literacy) director, Kapinus will work to ensure that Smarter Balanced assessments effectively measure the depth and breadth of the Common Core State Standards in ELA/literacy. She will oversee the ELA/literacy assessment item and performance task writing and review, as well as support the production and the development of assessment and professional learning materials for the Smarter Balanced assessment system.


“We are thrilled to have Barbara on board,” said Joe Willhoft, Ph.D., executive director of Smarter Balanced. “Her experience and leadership will help the Consortium effectively engage ELA/literacy content area professional organizations, teachers, nonprofits, content experts, and projects in teacher preparation, professional development, and assessment development that are critical to our success.”


Kapinus served as the leading expert in reading for the NEA and focused on policy and practice related to standards, curriculum, and assessment. Prior to her career with the NEA, Kapinus was a program director with the Council of Chief State School Officers, where she worked with states to strengthen standards and assessments.


“Developing next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards is an important step toward ensuring that all students have the opportunity to graduate from high school college- and career-ready,” said Kapinus. “The Smarter Balanced assessment system is designed to give teachers real-time feedback on student progress, tools to help plan instruction, and learning opportunities to improve their professional growth.”


Kapinus received her master’s of education and Ph.D. in education/reading from the University of Maryland, College Park.




About Smarter Balanced
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium brings together states to create a common, innovative assessment system for mathematics and English language arts that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and helps prepare students for college and careers. The Consortium involves educators, researchers, policymakers, and community groups in a transparent and consensus-driven process to help all students thrive in a knowledge-driven global economy. The Consortium’s projects are funded through a four-year, $175 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, comprising 99 percent of activity resources, with the remaining support provided through generous contributions of charitable foundations. Membership is open to any interested U.S. state. For more information, please visit

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