New Resources to Support Remote Teaching and Learning for Back-to-School 2021

Updates to the Remote Teaching and Learning website include improved navigation and new tools!

Flexible lesson planning for in-person, remote, and hybrid teaching is the new normal. Are you ready? The Smarter Balanced Remote Teaching and Learning website is now updated with everything you need to get started. From accessibility strategies to an all-new framework for adapting lessons to remote formats — created in partnership with the national research organization, WestEd. This site will help you prepare for another unusual school year. 

Among the updates, you will find:

  • an updated Back to School Assessment Playbook for 2021-22,
  • new Remote Teaching and Learning Framework, 
  • an updated Accessibility Strategies for Remote Teaching and Learning, and
  • a new Remote Summative Testing section.

2021-22 Back to School Assessment Playbook

The 2021-22 Back to School Assessment Playbook describes how teachers in Smarter Balanced member states may use resources such as Tools for Teachers and interim assessments, to focus on grade-level instruction to accelerate learning this coming school year.

This playbook highlights how to choose and use the right resources in Tools for Teachers as well as how to use Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs) to support the formative assessment process. Looking to dive deeper into interim assessments? Check out the Interim Assessments Overview document. 

The framework helps teachers adapt Tools for Teachers resources for remote learning.

Engage Students During Remote Teaching

The new Remote Teaching and Learning Framework provides guidance for teachers on how to engage students using meaningful interactions and how to use the formative assessment process during remote instruction. The framework draws on research-based guidance to help teachers adapt Tools for Teachers resources, as well as other curricular resources, to a remote learning context.

Need an introduction to Smarter Balanced remote learning and the formative assessment process? Try this Tools for Teachers Professional Learning Resource, “Remote Learning and the Formative Assessment Process Framework and Template.”

Key considerations for adapting instruction to remote contexts.

Equitable Access for Students  

What’s more, the updated Accessibility Strategies for Remote teaching and Learning reinforces one of our foundational principles — equitable access to learning for students. This guide can help teachers support students with accessibility strategies that seamlessly integrate into instruction, whether in-person or remote. Designated supports like illustration glossaries can help English learners clarify mathemat ics vocabulary during remote instruction.

Support for Planning Summative Assessments 

Lastly, the new Remote Summative Testing section provides best practice recommendations collected from educators who administered summative assessments remotely during the 2020-21 school year. District and/or school-level test coordinators can use these recommendations to support their planning for remote administration of the 2021-22 Smarter Balanced summative assessments.

We encourage teachers in Smarter Balanced member states to support remote learners this fall by planning and designing an approach to remote and hybrid instruction using the updated Remote Teaching and Learning website. Get started 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.

Press Inquiries

For interviews with Smarter Balanced staff or questions about tools and resources for news stories, email Chris Barron, Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs at