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Smarter Balanced

Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA)

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, schools, and districts identify which students need more support
  • Cover Math and English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Take about 2.5-4 hours per subject
  • Are given to students in grades 3 through 8 and 10
  • Are required for federal and state accountability

Spring 2022 Assessment Dates

Please contact your child’s school for exact testing dates.

Smarter Balanced English/Language Arts and Math (SBA) Assessment Window March 7 to June 10

Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) Assessment Window April 11 to June 3 for students in 5th, 8th, and 11th grades.

Spring 2022 Participation Details

  • All students in grades 3-8 and 10 are expected to take the SBA Math and ELA assessments.
  • Students in 11th and 12th grades may take Smarter Balanced if needed to fulfill their graduation pathway.
  • All 5, 8, and 11 grade students will take the  Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) in the spring.
  • 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.
  • Uniform assessment windows. No longer do third-graders and 10th-graders have a shortened testing window. All grades may take the assessment between mid-March and early June.
  • 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.

Accommodations, Exemptions, and Opting Out of the SBA

Accommodations for the SBA

A limited amount of accommodations are available for state testing per a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan.  The accommodations must be indicated in the state assessments section of the student’s IEP or 504 plan.  Not all in-class daily accommodations are permitted on state assessments.  OSPI provides an annual document that indicates approved tools, supports, and accommodations for state assessments.

State Guidelines on Tools, Supports, and Accommodations

Exemptions for the SBA

  • A student who is actively enrolled in an English Language Learner (ELL) program and are attending their first U.S. school and arrived in the U.S. within 365 days of the assessment may be exempt from the ELA test onlyIf a student and/or family use the exemption for the Fall SBA, they will not be exempt from the spring SBA in English Language Arts. 
  • A student who has a major medical event preventing participation during the entire window.  Those exemptions are reviewed and approved by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Opt Out of SBA

A student and their family may choose to not participate in the SBA. Students who opt out of the SBA will receive a non-participant zero and they will not receive a score report.


Do you have questions about state testing requirements, participation, or scores?

Please contact Will Hodges , District Assessment Coordinator for State Testing at 206-252-0148 or email to

You can also: visit our FAQ page to learn more about Smarter Balanced , from assessment format to accommodations and much more.