The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system can provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards in ELA/literacy and mathematics.
Achievement Level Descriptors
Smarter Balanced has announced the availability of draft initial achievement level descriptors (ALDs) for feedback and review through January 15, 2013. Developed by K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, and content experts, the initial ALDs describe levels of student performance in English language arts/literacy and mathematics on the Smarter Balanced assessments. Smarter Balanced has also released a college content-readiness definition with associated implications for 12th grade and postsecondary coursework at each achievement level on the 11th grade assessment. A full description of the ALDs, the college content-readiness definition and policy framework, and an online survey for providing feedback are available at www.smarterbalanced.org/achievement-level-descriptors-and-college-readiness.
Technology Readiness in New Hampshire
The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, in collaboration with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium, has developed a Technology Readiness Tool to support districts with planning for technology as they transition to next-generation assessments to be launched beginning in 2014. This new open source tool assesses current capacity and compares that to the technology that will be needed to administer the new online assessments in four areas-devices, device to tester ratio, network infrastructure, and staff and personnel. There will be a series of six data collection windows in which the tool will be open for updating of informaiton. The goal of the first data collection window is to collect easily-accessible baseline data. Data collection will occur once each spring and fall through 2014. All districts in New Hampshire will be requested to use the tool to assess technology readiness during each window. The data collected and reports provided by this tool will be valuable in developing district technology plans in future planning cycles. For more information, access the NH Technology Readiness Page on NHEON at: www.nheon.org/oet/readiness/
Technology Strategy Framework and System Requirements Specifications
Smarter Balanced has released a technology planning framework for member states preparing to implement the assessment system in the 2014-15 school year. The framework, developed by Navigation North on behalf of the Consortium, provides minimum hardware specifications and basic bandwidth calculations that will allow schools and districts to evaluate which of their existing devices will support the administration of next-generation assessments. The framework was developed with input and feedback from Smarter Balanced member states, work groups, and data from the Technology Readiness Tool, an online inventory of technology resources launched earlier this year. Based on the research and data analysis, Smarter Balanced estimates that the majority of schools and districts in member states will be able to successfully administer the assessments with their existing infrastructure. The full Smarter Balanced Technology Strategy Framework and Systems Requirements Specifications report can be accessed at: www.smarterbalanced.org/smarter-balanced-assessments/technology.
Sample Assessment Items Released for Public Review and Comment
Smarter Balanced released a set of sample assessment items and performance tasks online for public review. Developed in collaboration with educators and content experts, the sample items and tasks are meant to help teachers, administrators, and policymakers better understand the Common Core State Standards and to prepare for the implementation of the Smarter Balanced assessments. The sample items and performance tasks can be accessed from the Smarter Balanced Web site at www.smarterbalanced.org/sample-items-and-performance-tasks.
CCSS for Mathematics This webinar was the first of a two part series designed to bring together content experts from across Smarter Balanced states to examine the major shifts in the standards and implications for assessment.
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