Pilot for Smarter Balanced Assessments Now Underway

Carissa Miller

By Carissa Miller
Deputy Superintendent
21st Century Classroom

As Idaho transitions to the more rigorous Common Core State Standards in the 2013-14 school year, the state also will be transitioning to a new assessment to measure these higher standards. Idaho is a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

We are excited about this next generation of assessments because it will measure student achievement in grades 3-8 and 11 and assess 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 as well as assessment tools that teachers can use to measure student progress throughout the school year.

Idaho will first administer the new SBAC assessment in the 2014-15 school year and pilot it in the years before that. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Pilot recruiting is now underway. The Idaho State Department of Education has already sent information to each school district superintendent and charter school administrator informing them of the pilot and how they can participate.

There are two types of schools that will participate in the pilot:

  1. Those that are selected through the scientific sample, and
  2. All other schools that want to be a part of the volunteer sample.

If your school has been selected as part of the scientific sample for this pilot, this is an excellent opportunity to participate in the first round of pilot testing by Smarter Balanced. The Department has strongly encouraged those schools selected for the scientific sample to participate. Each state had a sample selected based on the needed demographic characteristics as well as the sample size proportionate to their population. We want to ensure Idaho students are represented in this first round. Schools selected in the scientific sample are asked to test no more than two grades of students in their school and in most cases only one grade and one subject area.

The volunteer school survey is another way for your school to participate and provide input even if your school was not selected for the scientific sample.

If you have any questions, please contact your district administration about whether or not your school has been selected or has decided to participate.

If you want to learn more about SBAC and the development of the new assessment, please visit http://www.smarterbalanced.org/. You can also sign up for regular updates on this website by clicking the "Stay Connected" link at the top of the page.

We will work to keep you updated on further progress as our work with Smarter Balanced continues. If you have any questions, please contact:

Angie Rishellz
ISAT Coordinator