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  • Smarter Balanced Assessment in ELA & Math

    What is the Smarter Balanced Assessment? 

    Smarter Balanced assessments are Washington's statewide summative assessments in English Language Arts and math. Summative assessments determine students' progress toward college and career readiness in English language arts/literacy and math.

    For more information from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction including:

    •  Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) Portal - Find general information and the user guides and manuals for the SBA
    • Top 10 Reasons - Learn why Washington State chose the SBA.
    • FAQ - Frequently asked questions about state testing.


    Do Students Need to Take the Assessment to Graduate? 

    From OSPI: Assessment results are necessary in order to have a complete High School and Beyond Plan, which is a graduation requirement. In addition, the results from the 10th grade ELA and math tests should be used to inform course-taking for the next two years of high school. When a 10th grade student demonstrates they have met standard on the test, they will have greater course-taking flexibility. Meeting standard on the high school test is one of the pathways a student can use to demonstrate post-secondary career or college readiness.

    Look at ReadyWA for a variety of resources including:


    When do students take the SBA? 


    • 10th graders will take the Smarter Balanced mathematics and ELA tests in the spring for state and federal accountability.
    • 11th and/or 12th graders may also take the Smarter Balanced math and/or ELA tests if they choose the assessments as a graduation pathway and have not yet achieved the graduation cut-score.


    Understanding Smarter Balanced Assessment Student Score Reports

    Individual Score Reports are sent home a few months after your student sits for the assessment.  These reports indicate your student’s overall score and corresponding achievement level, as well as, comparison scores for your student’s school, district, and state, and descriptions of your student’s performance in individual claims (areas like communicating reasoning in math), including strengths and weaknesses.

    A guide to understanding the format of the Individual Score reports can be found here:

    To better understand your student’s scores in the context of what they are expected to know and are able to do by grade level and subject, you should review . There you can select the grade, subject, and score range (achievement level) for your student and see what sorts of skills were assessed in that claim, and read descriptions of the skills expected at each achievement level: above standard, at/near standard, or below.