Smarter Balanced

Smarter Balanced state assessments

Washington state requires all districts to administer the Smarter Balanced assessments each spring. These tests:

  • Measure how well students are meeting College and Career Readiness Standards
  • Help teachers and districts identify which students need more support
  • Cover math and English language arts 
  • Take about 2.5-4 hours per subject
  • Are given to students in grades 3 to 8 and 10/11 
  • Are required for federal and state accountability
  • Replace Measurements of Student Progress (MSPs) and High School Proficiency Exam (HSPEs), but MSPs continue in SCIENCE ONLY for grades 5 and 8.

New for 2016 and Still Current for 2017

  1. Reduced assessment time. The assessments have eliminated the previously required classroom-based activity before each Performance Task. This will reduce time spent on the assessments.
  2. Uniform assessment windows. No longer do third-graders and 11th-graders have a shortened testing window. All grades may take the assessment between mid-March and early June.
  3. Option to release high school scores to colleges. At the end of the Smarter Balanced assessment for grades 10 and 11, students are given the option to check a box that would allow scores to be released to colleges. Scores will only be requested after a student has been admitted to a college (so that colleges can determine whether to waive placement tests and remedial courses), so this option would not impact admission.

Visit our FAQ page to learn more about Smarter Balanced, from assessment format to accommodations and much more.

Read Superintendent Larry Nyland's April 2016 letter to families.

Click the image above to view our 2015 family video.

Megan Bale

Assessment Development Program Manager

Try a practice testclip art image of a computer screen

VIDEO: Assessments and 21st Century Skills

VIDEO: Assessments and the College Path

Smarter Balanced Website

Image of Smarter Balanced logo. links to Smarter Balanced website.

WA State Assessment Information

OSPI logo. links to OSPI site

Why Smarter Balanced?

top 10 reasons why Washington is making the switch to Smarter Balanced pdf

English Language Arts and Math Standards

Common core. Links to english language arts and math standards

Family Fact Sheet

Image of familt fact sheet. Links to full fact sheet.
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