SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium:

A frequently asked question related to the Common Core State Standards is: Will the ISAT change as a result of the implementation of these new standards? The answer is, “Yes.” In 2010, Idaho joined 28 other states in the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium 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. Idaho is a lead state in the Consortium, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Carissa Miller serves as Co-Chair of the Executive Committee.

The Consortium will use the grant money over four years to develop a comprehensive assessment system that measures student achievement in grades 3-8 and 11 and assesses problem solving and complex thinking skills. States will have the option of adding assessments in grades 9 and 10. The assessment system will include end-of-year assessments and assessment tools that teachers can use to measure student progress throughout the school year. Specifically, the consortium of states will create state-of-the-art adaptive online exams. The online system will provide accurate assessment information to teachers and others on the progress of all students, including those with disabilities, English language learners and low- and high-performing students. It will include:

  1. A summative exam, required by No Child Left Behind, with a retake option offered;
  2. Optional interim, or benchmark, exams; and
  3. A variety of formative tools, processes and practices for teachers to use in planning and implementing informal, ongoing assessments. This will assist teachers in understanding what students are and are not learning on a daily basis so they can adjust instruction accordingly. Based on the Consortium’s work, students will have the option to take interim exams, which provide guidance to teachers about instructional milestones. These interim tests, and multiple opportunities to take what are traditionally year-end summative exams, will move the testing process away from the traditional "one-size-fits-all" state exams. The goal is for students who score well on specific learning standards earlier in the school year not to be tested on those standards later on an end-of-the-year test because they’ve already demonstrated proficiency.

Learn more about the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium and its ongoing work HERE.