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Formative Assessment and Digital Library FAQs

Formative Assessment

  1. What is formative assessment?

    Formative assessment is a deliberate process used by teachers with students during instruction that provides actionable feedback that is used to adjust teaching and learning strategies to improve students’ attainment of learning targets and goals. Formative assessment is a process, not a test.

  2. What are the components of the formative assessment process?

    The components, or attributes, are: (1) clarify intended learning; (2) elicit evidence; (3) interpret evidence; and (4) act on evidence.

  3. What role does the formative assessment process play in the Smarter Balanced assessment system?

    The formative assessment process is used to gauge learning. When educators use the formative assessment process, they can achieve a clear understanding of where their students are in the learning progression. Using assessment for learning benefits the assessment of all students’ learning. Formative assessment, therefore, is a tool that supports the Smarter Balanced goal of providing instructional strategies that support the achievement results of the summative and interim assessments.

Digital Library

  1. What is the Smarter Balanced Digital Library?

    The Digital Library is an online collection of instructional and professional learning resources contributed by educators for educators. These resources are aligned with the intent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and help educators implement the formative assessment process to improve teaching and learning. Educators can use Digital Library resources to:

        • Differentiate instruction for diverse learners
        • Increase understanding of assessment
        • Engage students in their own learning
        • Design professional development activities
  2. Does the Digital Library include a bank of test items?


  3. How does the Digital Library support formative assessment and the Smarter Balanced assessment system?

    Every resource available in the Digital Library must incorporate at least one attribute of the formative assessment process. Using the Digital Library’s formative assessment resources, educators can improve their students’ attainment of the CCSS, on which the Smarter Balanced assessments are based.

  4. What resources are included in the Digital Library?

    Resources in the Digital Library include professional development modules, best practices for CCSS classroom instruction for all grade levels, demonstration videos, and research-based formative assessment tools and practices. The Digital Library is not a library for the general public or a site to freely post resources.

  5. Who may contribute to the Digital Library?

    Resources in the Digital Library are either commissioned by Smarter Balanced or contributed by trained educators from Smarter Balanced member states who are members of the Digital Library State Network of Educators (SNE).

  6. How can educators apply to join the SNE?

    Educators interested in contributing resources to, and reviewing resources for inclusion in, the Digital Library are encouraged to contact the California Department of Education at for application information.

  7. How are resources identified for inclusion in the Digital Library?

    Members of the Digital Library SNE use quality criteria to vet proposed resources for the Digital Library. These criteria include alignment with the CCSS and incorporation of formative assessment practices.

  8. Who are authorized users of the Digital Library?

    All local educational agency (LEA) staff members are considered authorized users of the Digital Library. LEA staff members with an e-mail address from an authorized LEA domain can self-register for the Digital Library. LEA staff members without an authorized e-mail domain may contact their LEA CAASPP coordinator to request an account.

  9. Which non-public school (NPS) staff members are permitted to have access to the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments and Digital Library?

    Eligible NPS staff are educators at the NPS, whether in-state or out-of-state, who provide direct instruction to California public school students. Access to the interim assessments and Digital Library must be restricted to eligible staff. LEA CAASPP coordinators are responsible for ensuring access is restricted to eligible NPS staff.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Friday, February 8, 2019
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