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.
Field Test Updates
Sample Items and Performance Tasks
District or personnel with technology questions about the Field Test can contact the Field Test Help Desk for assistance: Telephone number: 1 (855) 833-1969
To view information on the SBAC Technology Readiness Tool please visit:
Smarter Balanced Transition Update Webinar, December 18, 2013
Smarter Balanced Transition Update PPT, December 18, 2013
Smarter Balanced Transition Update Notes and Questions, December 18, 2013
Smarter Balanced Field Test Webinar for Principals, March 6, 2014
FAQs from Smarter Balanced Field Test Webinar for Principals, March 6, 2014
Smarter-Balanced Preparations in Coeur d'Alene School District
Twin Falls School District Presentation
For more information on the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, visit
To view additional SBAC FAQs, please visit
Director of Assessment