Common Assessment

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a state-led consortium working to develop a next-generation assessment system that accurately measures student progress toward college- and career-readiness. Smarter Balanced is one of two multistate consortia awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year. Idaho is a governing state in the Smarter Balanced and holds a seat on the executive committee.


The Educator Communications Toolkit is designed to assist teachers and other instructional staff in discussing the Smarter Balanced assessment system with parents, community members, and other constituents. It includes the following elements in a single document that can be shared within districts, advocacy organizations, charter school networks, and other relevant stakeholders in your community:

  • About the Assessments: Basic information about the assessments, including the timeline for launch
  • Talking points: Messages that can be integrated into school materials addressing specific information about the assessment system and the Spring 2014 Field Test
  • Common misperceptions: Facts about common misperceptions about Smarter Balanced, along with explanations and links to additional resources
  • Answers to questions from parents: Responses to commonly asked parent questions
  • Resources for teachers: Resources for understanding the Smarter Balanced Assessments and the Common Core, and resources for engaging parents
  • Communication tips: Advice on talking with reporters, submitting letters to the editors, social media, and policymaker outreach

Sample questions test items that illustrate how Smarter Balanced is assessing the Common Core. We hope you will find this toolkit helpful, and welcome your suggestions for improvements. Smarter Balanced will revise and re-issue the toolkit prior to the start of the 2014-15 school year, but are issuing it now so that districts, and professional organizations can use it when they convene teachers over the summer.

PDF Icon Idaho Smarter Balanced Field Test Feedback Report
PDF Icon Validity Overview September 2014
Word Icon Smarter Balanced Educator Communications Toolkit
PDF Icon Grades 9th and 10th now optional for Smarter Balanced Field Test - January 2014
PDF Icon Idaho AG Opinion on Standards and Assessments
PDF Icon Smarter Balanced - Idaho Specific FAQs
PDF Icon Smarter Balanced - Points of Emphasis
PDF Icon Student Data Privacy and Assessments
PDF Icon Letter from U.S. Department of Education re: Data and Smarter Balanced Assessment, March 24, 2014
PDF Icon Idaho Test Administration (Proctoring) Policy, March 25, 2014
PDF Icon Proctor Test Security Agreement
PDF Icon Test Security Reminders
For communication resources for parents, please see the Communications Toolkit
PDF Icon Field Test Media Access Guidance, April 1, 2014
PDF Icon Memo to Districts Re: Smarter Balanced Participation and Grades 9&10
PDF Icon Guidance for Social Media Field Test Monitoring
button Field Test Information Spring 2014

button Operational Test - Spring 2015

Coming Soon!

button Smarter Balanced Educator Recruitment Opportunities

button Webinars / Trainings

button Sample Items and Performance Tasks

button Resources

For more information on the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, visit