Smarter Balanced Releases Back to School Assessment Playbook

Cover of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium "2020 Bach to School Assessment Playbook: Using the Smarter Balanced Assessment System to Improve Student Learning." The cover features the outline of a student sitting cross-legged with a computer in their lap.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (July 23, 2020) – Smarter Balanced released the Back to School Assessment Playbook, which offers educators in Smarter Balanced member states guidance and recommendations regarding how they can use the new Tools for Teachers website, as well as nearly 150 interim assessment blocks, to accelerate learning this coming school year.

The Playbook, developed in collaboration with Smarter Balanced member states, includes: 

  • guidance on choosing and using the right instructional resources and strategies,
  • recommendations on teaching and measuring the highest priority content in each subject, and
  • information about the unique role of the Interim Comprehensive Assessment (ICA), which measures a similar range of content as the summative assessment and assesses similar claims, targets, and standards.

These resources from Smarter Balanced are meant to guide educators during this difficult time and help them better understand and meet student needs. With the recommendations offered in the Playbook, educators in Smarter Balanced states will be better prepared to meet this year’s challenges and offer high-quality instruction to their students.

“This Playbook provides recommendations to educators, whether they are teaching in-person or remotely, that will help them use formative and interim assessment strategies to support the learning of their students in the upcoming school year,” said Tony Alpert, Smarter Balanced Executive Director.

Media: Please contact Audrey Lesondak, Member Services Advocate at

About Us

Smarter Balanced is a public agency currently supported by its members. Through the work of thousands of educators, we created an online assessment system aligned to college and career ready standards, as well as instructional resources for educators to help them improve teaching and learning. Smarter Balanced is housed at the University of California Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Extension.