Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

As most of the United States transitions to the Common Core State Standards and the Common Core Mathematical Practices, it will be necessary to administer assessments that align to the CCSS. In 2010, the US Department of Education chose to fund two consortia whose task it is to develop such an assessment. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is one of those.

By the 2014-15 school year, the consortium, comprised of educators, researchers, and members of community groups, will have built an assessment which will measure student readiness for college and/or careers. Currently there are 29 states who have agreed to join the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, either as a governing or as an advisory member.

In addition to being aligned to the CCSS and the CCMP, the Smarter Balanced Assessment will include more than just multiple choice responses. The test will also include short constructed responses, extended constructed responses, and performance tasks which will ask students to demonstrate and apply their knowledge to real-world situations.

The assessment will make use of CAT, computer adaptive testing, which will allow districts to get feedback much more quickly and accurately than current state tests allow, and will offer the ability to track student progress over time.

Because the test is being administered online, the Smarter Balanced Assessment will include technology-enhanced items, designed for the student to interract with the computer to solve a problem or mathematical situation.

Teachers will have the ability to give students interim tests throughout the school year as both formative and summative assessment tools. Included will be an online reporting system, which will give teachers, administrators, and parents feedback on student growth and achievement.

For more information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, visit

The PARCC Assessment

As the Common Core State Standards are sweeping the nation, more and more teachers and parents are wondering about the assessment of the new curriculum.

PARCC, The Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers, is a consortium of states working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments. The goal is to dramatically increase the rates at which students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and the workplace.

It will provide students, educators, policymakers and the public tools needed to identify whether students are on track for postsecondary success and where gaps need to be addressed before students enter college or the workforce. These new assessments will assess the full range of the Common Core Standards, both content and practices.

The assessment system will be comprised of four components.

  • Two summative, required assessment components designed to:

- Make “college- and career-readiness” and “on-track” determinations,

- Measure the full range of standards and full performance continuum, and

- Provide data for accountability uses, including measures of growth.

  • Two non-summative, optional assessment components designed to:

- Generate timely information for informing instruction, interventions, and professional development during the school year.

- An additional third non-summative component will assess students’ speaking and listening skills.

Assessments will be computer based and will be graded via computer scoring and human scoring.  PARCC assessments will begin during the 2014-15 school year.