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What is Smarter Balanced?

Oregon is part of a team of states working together voluntarily to develop K-12 assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics aligned to Oregon’s Common Core State Standards. These tests are called Smarter Balanced assessments.

How are Smarter Balanced tests different from our old tests?

Our students deserve better tests, ones that measure high-level skills rather than the ability to memorize facts or deduce answers from lists. More importantly, our students deserve tests that give them the opportunity to show what they know and can do. Smarter Balanced tests go above and beyond filling in multiple choice bubbles and actually showcase students’ thoughts and explanations for how they solve problems. Here’s how:
  • Aligned to more challenging standards, Smarter Balanced tests better measure what skills and knowledge our students need to be successful in the 21st Century.
  • Test questions come in many different forms, and allow students to interact with graphs and type in their own responses in addition to selecting answers from traditional multiple choice lists. Essay questions ask students to use evidence from multiple sources of texts to create their arguments and explain their reasoning.
  • Developed with experts to include tools and supports that address visual, auditory, and physical access barriers, Smarter Balanced tests are designed to meet the needs of all students. Learn more here.

How can I learn more about our new state tests?

Visit our drop down menu (upper right hand corner) to browse Smarter Balanced topics or go to Communication Resources to access family-friendly materials. You can also take the practice tests available on our Practice Test Site on the OAKS Portal for a firsthand look at the new test questions. Be sure to sign in as “Guest,” select a grade, and choose either an English or math test with “SB” beside it.

How can I stay up-to-date?

Sign up for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s newsletter by visiting http://www.smarterbalanced.org/ and clicking on the “Stay Connected” link located at the top right corner of the homepage:
Stay Connected

  • Ken Hermens Email    (503) 947-5830
    Assessment - Specialist, English Language Arts
  • Bryan Toller Email    (503) 947-5832
    Assessment - Specialist, Mathematics

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