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3/14/2013 9:16:00 AM
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Updates

Technology Clarification to the Field

During the first year of the operational Smarter Balanced testing (which will be spring of the 2014-15 school year) districts will need to have headphones for each student during the English Language Arts/Literacy assessments in order to engage with the listening test items, and for students requiring the text-to-speech option for the math assessments.

However, during 2014-15 districts should not need any additional technology devices for the online assessments. Technology evolution continues to generate smaller, faster, cheaper computers and accessories.

  • As these devices evolve, schools and districts will need to make the best possible decisions about which technology (platform, operating system and peripherals) will best serve students today and in the future for both instructional and assessment purposes.


  • As these devices evolve, Smarter plans to also develop their assessments to be more classroom contextualized, more engaging of students, and measuring student's higher order thinking skills. Up-to date information on Smarter's technology requirements and new hardware purchasing guidelines are available at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/smarter-balanced-assessments/technology/

Smarter Balanced has released statements that there are plans in 2016-17 to include test items in the mathematics assessments that will require a student to produce illustrations or calculations. Because of this, by 2016-17, it is expected that students will need to use a tablet or other device that allows for stylus-based input. ODE advises against hurried technology buying decisions in preparation for the Smarter operational assessments. As the results of the 2013-2014 Smarter field test are reported, Smarter Balanced will then release additional information to inform any necessary required purchases. Some districts are acquiring a few new computers a year with various peripherals needed for instruction as well as for assessment (formative, interim and summative). During this time, implementation planning for 2016-2017 and beyond will help prepare districts for wise purchasing decisions while bandwidth improves, computers become faster with smaller foot print, and technology becomes less expensive.


Smarter Balanced Pilot Test:



Smarter Balanced Pilot Test Achievement Level Descriptors:

The Smarter Balanced initial achievement level descriptors (ALDs) and college content-readiness policy have been finalized and are now posted for governing states' review in preparation for the Governing States vote next week. The materials are available at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/achievement-level-descriptors-and-college-readiness/. Note that the college content-readiness policy is included in the introduction to both the ELA/literacy and mathematics ALDs documents.


Contacting Smarter Balanced:

The Smarter Balanced external website (www.smarterbalanced.org) showcases the innovative work of the Consortium and provides frequent updates on activities, milestones, and events. Visitors can submit questions or reach Smarter Balanced staff at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/contact-us/.

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Contact(s) for this Announcement
  • Kathleen Vanderwall Email    (503) 947-5721
    Assessment - Manager, Test Design & Implementation
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