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SBAC Draft Content Specifications Feedback

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

August 15, 2011

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:


I would like to extend an invitation for you to provide feedback on the draft content specifications that will be used to inform test development for the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

In June 2011, Governor Jerry Brown, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst, and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding for California to become a governing state for the SBAC, which brings states together to create an innovative assessment system for mathematics and English-language arts (ELA). Based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), SBAC released draft content specifications in ELA/literacy for public comment and review until August 29, 2011. The content specifications provide a framework for the development of the SBAC system that includes:

  • A description of the outcomes we should expect when students are proficient in the knowledge and skills described in the CCSS

  • Item types and examples of item prototypes

Your voice matters in the development of our new state assessments. Please take advantage of this opportunity to provide feedback on the ELA/Literacy Draft Content Specifications. A press release, content specifications, user guide, and survey are located on the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium’s Web page at

This is an exciting time for education in California, and we look forward to working with you on this request and future opportunities that will arise for your involvement in the implementation of the SBAC assessments and the CCSS. If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Dr. Kristen Brown, Education Research and Evaluation Consultant, Assessment and Accountability Division, by phone at 916-319-0334 or by e-mail at [Note: the previous contact is no longer valid. If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the Statewide Assessment Transition Office by phone at 916-445-8517 or by e-mail at].


Tom Torlakson


cc: High School Principals

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