Ten Smarter Tools for Ten Years

Smarter Balanced Celebrates a Decade of Supporting Educators

Building web-based applications to support teaching has been part of Smarter Balanced’s mission from the beginning. We heard loud and clear that high-quality assessment requires equally high-quality support in the classroom to ensure student learning goals are aligned with state academic standards. The challenging work of teaching is easier when everything is aligned–instruction (individually and among teams), goals, standards–and students are empowered and engaged.

Illustration of teachers sitting at a table talking with logos and Smarter Balanced tools floating around them.

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we would like to thank our members and the hundreds of educators who have contributed to designing and building the most flexible, accessible, and comprehensive suite of instructional supports available. Here are a few tools (from among many), we’d like to highlight (and celebrate!):

  1. Tools for Teachers – Tools for Teachers is an easy-to-search website featuring lessons and activities designed to save teachers time. We worked with hundreds of educators to build something really great—an advanced toolkit for teachers that will help you do what you do best. Teach!
  2. Smarter Reporting – The Smarter Reporting System is an interactive reporting platform that connects assessment data and instructional resources in one place.
  3. Accessibility Resources – A core principle of the Smarter Balanced system is accessibility for students who take the test. Accessibility resources provided on Smarter Balanced assessments ensure equitable access for students with diverse accessibility needs and preferences.
  4. Smarter Content Explorer – Assessing the range of knowledge and skills is important for college and career readiness. Use this site to learn how test items connect to academic standards.
  5. Sample Items Website – This site provides examples of test questions used on Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts/literacy and math. Test questions are developed with extensive involvement by educators, including test question writing, reviewing for accuracy, and ensuring questions are fair for all test takers.
  6. Interim Connections Playlists (PDF) – Support teaching and learning by using student performance on interim assessment blocks to help identify instructional resources and next steps.
  7. Interim Assessment Print Portal – Quickly find and use interim items in more flexible ways than ever before. This site is available to educators in Smarter Balanced members states to access test questions from interim assessments, including Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs), Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs), and Focused Interim Assessment Blocks (FIABs).
  8. Desmos Calculators – Smarter Balanced and Desmos are proud to offer calculators that are both free to students and include cutting edge accessibility features. Students who are visually impaired or blind have the same opportunities as their peers to use online calculators.
  9. Starting Smarter – Parents who are engaged in their child’s education are powerful allies for teachers. This set of resources, including information on how to read score reports and a guide to what questions to ask during parent-teacher conferences, is perfect for sharing with your students’ families so they stay informed and can provide more support at home.

BONUS: Coming soon! Smarter Annotated Response Tool (SmART)

Home page of forthcoming SmART website: Smarter Annotated Response Tool.
The new SmART website will launch in November 2020.

What would an anniversary be if we didn’t also look forward, eagerly, for what is yet to come? Our newest tool will be released in fall 2020 and supports writing instruction by helping teachers understand how student writing is scored on Smarter Balanced assessments. Browse a range of response types, explore interactive scoring rationales and rubrics, and practice scoring on your own or with colleagues. All in one beautifully designed site!

About Smarter Balanced’s 10th Anniversary
Since 2010, Smarter Balanced has worked in partnership with state education agencies, districts, schools, and educators to develop a high-quality comprehensive assessment system that is designed to support instruction and boost student learning. 2020 marks a decade of collaboration and we thank our members and all the educators who have come together to help build an equitable, accessible assessment system that includes instructional support as a key element. We celebrate this work, this collaboration, as it is truly a commitment to student learning.

Visit our interactive timeline to learn more about Smarter Balanced’s history of impact.