Smarter Balanced Assessments

SBAC Statewide Assessments
Statewide assessments began changing in 2014-2015. Washington is a leader in the state-led Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which includes teachers, researchers, policymakers, and community groups working together on new exams. These new tests align with the Common Core standards to better measure what a student is learning and how they progress year by year. Washington's students began taking the new Smarter Balanced exams during the 2014-15 school year. The assessments will be designed to test higher level thinking skills. The tests will be given on computers, and will be adaptive, meaning the test will automatically adjust its level of rigor for each question based on how each student answers the questions.  Students in grades 3-8 and 11 will take the new Smarter Balanced tests aligned to the Washington State Learning Standards in English language arts (ELA) and math. 

Smarter Balanced is more than just a once-a-year test. It’s a system, made up of three components:

  1. The Digital Library contains on-demand professional development materials designed to help teachers and an online collaboration platform to give them a place to share what’s working in their classrooms.

  2. Interim assessments are optional. They are flexible, non-secure periodic assessments to be offered at teachers’ and schools’ discretion throughout the school year. These computer-based tests will provide meaningful feedback that teachers can use to help students succeed.

  4. Summative assessments are required. They will take place during the last 12 weeks of the school year. These computer-based tests will help schools evaluate how well their students performed by comparing them with students from other schools across the nation. The end-of-year assessments also will empower families by providing them with a clear indication of how well their children are progressing toward mastering the academic knowledge and skills necessary for college and career readiness. 

Additional Resources
To learn more about Smarter Balanced, use the links below.

Field Tests 
Five schools in North Kitsap School District volunteered to participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) field tests in math and language arts in the spring of 2014.  The schools that participated in the field test were:
  • Suquamish Elementary School
  • Vinland Elementary School
  • Wolfle Elementary School
  • Kingston Middle School
  • Poulsbo Middle School 

The field test allowed assessment and education experts to make sure the tests are fair and the questions work the way in which they are intended. The Consortium is offered the field tests to students in many states this year to determine what adjustments would be needed before the tests were fully implemented in the spring of 2015. Participation in the field test also allowed our schools to see what it’s like to administer these new tests.

Because the field test was a trial run of new items and the test-delivery system, there were no scores for individual students, schools or districts for these five schools. Rather, performance on individual items by students in many states helped determine how the new tests are put together and what scores will be needed to “meet standard” once the tests are used statewide in 2015.    

Students in these schools did not take the state MSP (Measure of Student Progress) test, with the exception of 5th and 8th graders, who took only the science portion.


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