SMARTER Balanced Releases Draft Math Content Specifications

Input sought on framework for next-generation assessments


OLYMPIA, Wash — August 29, 2011 – The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium today released draft math content specifications for public comment and review. Developed by leading academic experts and practitioners, the document describes the evidence students must exhibit to demonstrate mastery of the college- and career-ready knowledge and skills identified in the Common Core State Standards.


“We are pleased that more than 200 individuals and organizations provided feedback on the draft English language arts/literacy content specifications released earlier this month,” said Joe Willhoft, executive director of SMARTER Balanced. “Feedback from states, partners and interested stakeholders on the math content specifications will ensure that we have a sound framework for the development of test blueprints and item specifications.”


The math content specifications include important claims about student learning that are derived from the Common Core State Standards. When finalized, these claims will serve as the basis for the SMARTER Balanced system of summative and interim assessments and its formative assessment support for teachers.


SMARTER Balanced is committed to conducting a transparent and collaborative review process that includes two rounds of public comment on both the ELA/literacy and math content specifications. Feedback on the math content specifications will be accepted through September 19. The content specifications, feedback surveys and a recorded webinar are available on the Consortium’s website at:


Key dates for the review of the draft content specifications include:

August 29: Feedback due on ELA/literacy content specifications (round 1); math content specifications released (round 1);
September 19: Feedback due on math content specifications (round 1); ELA/literacy content specifications released (round 2)
September 26: Feedback due on ELA/literacy content specifications (round 2)
October 3: Final ELA/literacy content specifications released
October 10: Math content specifications released (round 2)
October 17: Feedback due on math content specifications (round 2)
October 24: Final math content specifications released


Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, the Consortium’s senior research advisor and professor of education at the Stanford University School of Education, led the development of the math content specifications in collaboration with Hugh Burkhardt, professor at the Shell Centre for Mathematical Education at the University of Nottingham, and Alan Schoenfeld, professor of education and of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley. The SMARTER Balanced Technical Advisory Committee, Consortium work groups and the lead authors of the Common Core State Standards also contributed to the draft.






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

back to top