Communicating about Smarter Balanced Scores

Moving into the 2015-16 school year states, including Washington, are releasing publicly their Smarter Balanced scores and developing ways to communicate clearly to students, parents and the general public about what the scores mean. The overall results in Washington were encouraging given that it’s the first operational year of a new and more rigorous assessment; the percentage of students who took the assessments meeting standard was consistently close to or more than 50% of students in all grades in both subject areas (math and English Language Arts) except for 11th grade students in math (29%).There were special circumstances with high school students given the challenges of a new assessment, one not currently required for graduation, for juniors focused on taking college admissions tests, AP courses and tests, etc., and the resulting push from parents and communities in the state to have their 11th grade students refuse to take the assessment.  [For more details or to examine results from specific school districts, see the Washington state “report card” site from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, OSPI.]

Our work in Core to College has focused recently on creating messaging that districts can distribute to students and parents along with their score report that focuses specifically on the connection to higher education and its use of the scores; you can see the document here. We will also be getting the word out through the teachers of the Bridge to College courses; students getting a B or better in those courses in those courses and who scored a Smarter Balanced achievement level of 2 will then be eligible for the placement agreement (otherwise they would need to take a placement test on entry).

For additional information about examples of communication efforts and messaging in Washington or in other Smarter Balanced states,visit this link on the Smarter Balanced web site. To see or download the specific communication regarding the how the scores can be useful for students and parents, especially for higher education purposes, see this resource on the OSPI web site. This document was developed so that schools could distribute it to students and families along with their Smarter Balanced score report.