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Smarter Balanced is a critical academic check-up

This spring, students across Washington are taking the Smarter Balanced assessments in math and English language arts for the first time.  There’s a lot to know about what the tests measure, how they are administered, and what to expect when the results come in.  Ready Washington, a statewide coalition of education agencies, associations and advocacy organizations, has developed some great informational materials to help answer many of these questions.

Take four minutes to check on this video on what Smarter Balanced is and how the results can be used to ensure students are on track to career and college readiness:

Or spend two minutes watching this video to get a run-down on what kind of assessments are included in the Smarter Balanced system:

Will these test be fun?  As Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman wrote recently:

No one loves tests though, of course, life is full of them. But if tests align to what students are learning in the classroom and are smart, they’re incredibly useful.
They can help parents really know whether their children are on track in math and English language arts so parents can partner with teachers to address kids’ challenges when they’re still resolvable and before their kids can’t get into college, struggle in college, or can’t get or keep good jobs.

The tests can also help teachers know where they’re solid and where they might need to improve, and also help the next grade’s teachers know what kind of support incoming students might need.

Finally, they can help administrators know which teachers and schools are exemplary and which need extra attention and support.

In a nutshell, that’s why these tests are so important. They help families, teachers and school administrators gauge progress, course correct when needed, and ensure students are on track to career and college readiness.

As The Seattle Times recently editorialized:

By no means do tests provide a full picture of a student’s achievements, but they are an important tool for determining what students have learned and their skill levels, where they need to improve and how they rank among their peers — within the same classroom and across the country.

Get more information from these resources:


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