Smarter Balanced

What is Smarter Balanced?
Smarter Balanced is a student assessment system aligned with a common core of academic content standards for English language arts/literacy and mathematics. It will replace the NECAP assessment.  The new assessment will be used to gauge how well students are mastering the standards and ultimately how ready students are for college and career education and training.

What Subjects Are Tested With Smarter Balanced?
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has developed a system of valid, reliable, and fair next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts/literacy (ELA/literacy) and mathematics.

Which Grades Will be Tested?
Grades 3-8 and 11. 

When Will Students be Tested?
The first Smarter Balanced test in the school will be held in Spring 2015.

How are Students Tested?
Smarter Balanced capitalizes on the precision and efficiency of Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). The assessments go beyond multiple-choice questions to include extended response and technology enhanced items, as well as performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

What is the Composition of the Testing?
Smarter Balanced assessments go beyond multiple-choice questions to include extended response and technology enhanced items, as well as performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. 

Performance tasks challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to complex real-world problems. They can best be described as collections of questions and activities that are coherently connected to a single theme or scenario. These activities are meant to measure capacities such as depth of understanding, writing and research skills, and complex analysis, which cannot be adequately assessed with traditional assessment questions.

Additional Information
For more information visit the NHDOE Smarter Balanced and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium websites.
 For more information contact the School Counseling Center (Guidance). 


What is NWEA?
Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a not-for-profit organization committed to helping school districts throughout the nation improve learning for all students. NWEA partners with more than 2,200 school districts representing more than three million students. As a result of NWEA assessments, educators can make informed decisions to promote the academic growth of students.

What is the MAP NWEA Assessment?
NWEA’s computerized adaptive assessments are called Measure of Academic Progress (MAP). When taking a MAP assessment, the difficulty of each question is based on how well a student answers all the previous questions. As the student answers correctly, questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. The final score represents the student’s achievement level.

What subjects does MAP assess?
Schools are using the MAP assessments in the area of  mathematics, reading, language arts, and science.

How long does it take to complete an assessment?
Although the assessments are not timed, it usually takes students about 45 minutes to complete each assessment.

When will students be assessed and how often?
Schools have the option of assessing their students up to four times a year. All students K-10 are assessed in the Fall and Spring in reading and mathematics.

Do all students in the same grade take the same assessment?
Yes. However, NWEA developed computerized adaptive assessments. As a student responds to questions, the assessment responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty. The questions on each assessment vary.

What are NWEA assessments used for?
NWEA assessments are used to measure a student’s progress or growth in school. 

How do teachers use the assessment scores?
NWEA assessments are important to teachers because they keep track of progress and growth in basic skills. They let teachers know where a student’s strengths are and if help is needed in any specific areas. Teachers use this information to help guide instruction in the classroom.

Additional Information
For more information visit the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) website.
 For more information contact the School Counseling Center (Guidance).


What is i-Ready Diagnostic and Instruction?
i-Ready is a tool for delivering differentiated instruction. It combines an adaptive K–12 diagnostic and growth measure and individualized student instruction that helps teachers personalize instruction for every child.

i-Ready Diagnostic (grades K–12) assesses students’ academic skills in math and reading, helping teachers design individualized instruction for them based on their unique needs. Proven to predict performance on state assessments, it expands the realm of purposeful assessments, going beyond screening and progress monitoring to provide growth measures and targeted assessment of grade-level instruction, and eliminating the need for numerous unrelated assessments in one school.

i-Ready Instruction (grades K–8) provides each student with a personalized instruction plan based on the results of from i-Ready Diagnostic. The plan includes a tailored combination of online instruction and downloadable lessons for teacher-led instruction (e.g. individual, small groups, or whole class). This allows teachers to meet each student’s unique needs. Mobile apps provide additional independent practice that addresses key skills. Because of the way i-Ready Diagnostic works as an adaptive assessment, teachers and parents can feel confident that each student’s instruction path is highly prescriptive and built uniquely to meet each student’s needs.

How does i-Ready work?
A single K–12 adaptive Diagnostic for reading and mathematics that pinpoints student needs down to the sub-skill level, and ongoing progress monitoring shows whether students are on track to achieve end-of-year targets. Each assessment is individualized based on the student's answer to a question. This makes the assessment an “adaptive” one. For example, a series of answers that are correct will result in slightly harder question, while a series of answers that are incorrect will yield slightly easier questions.


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