The Smarter Balanced Assessment System utilizes computer adaptive tests and performance tasks that allow students to show what they know and are able to do. This system is based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English–language arts (ELA) and mathematics.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment System has three components: the Summative Assessments, designed for accountability purposes; Interim Assessments, designed to support teaching and learning throughout the year; and the Digital Library, designed to support classroom-based formative assessment processes. The Smarter Balanced Assessment System Graphic (PDF) displays the relationship between these components, the Common Core State Standards, and college and career readiness.
- Summative Assessments
In grades 3 through 8 and 11 for ELA and mathematics. The summative assessments are administered as part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System.
- Interim Assessments
Designed to improve and promote teaching and learning by providing information that can be used to monitor student progress toward mastery of the Common Core State Standards. These optional resources are available to all K–12 teachers in ELA and mathematics.
- Digital Library
Consists of tools and practices designed to help teachers utilize formative assessment processes for improved teaching and learning in all grades. These optional resources are available to all K–12 teachers.
Achievement level setting, also known as standard setting, is the process used for establishing one or more cut scores on an assessment, making it possible to create categories of performance. Smarter Balanced Governing States use a three-phase design for achievement level setting, which involves an online panel, an in-person panel, and a vertical articulation committee. For more information on these activities, visit the Smarter Balanced Achievement Levels Web page .
Smarter Balanced Achievement Level Charts
- ELA/literacy – A line graph displays the threshold scale scores for the achievement levels for the ELA portion of the Smarter Balanced assessments. A bar graph displays the estimated percentage of students scoring at each achievement level by grade.
- Mathematics – A line graph displays the threshold scale scores for the achievement levels for the mathematics portion of the Smarter Balanced assessments. A bar graph displays the estimate percentage of students scoring at each achievement level by grade.
CAASPP Flash and Update
To receive regular updates and the latest information about the CAASPP system, including the Smarter Balanced assessment systems, join the California Department of Education’s CAASPP e-mail list by sending a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smarter Balanced Technology Readiness Resources
Information to assist districts to prepare technology resources for computer-based assessments.
Smarter Balanced Resources
Test blueprints, initial achievement level descriptors and college content readiness policy, accessibility and accommodation information, CCSS, presentations, frequently asked questions, and fact sheets.
Common Core State Standards
Since 2010, 45 states adopted the same standards for ELA and mathematics. These standards are called the Common Core State Standards. Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.