New assessments are currently being adopted across the nation in response to policies intended to ensure students’ readiness for college and careers when they leave high school. The value of these new assessments will be maximized with proper interpretation and use, as they inform instructional plans for individual students, classroom practices, curriculum designs, professional development activities, and other policies.
This document outlines some of the key principles and information that should guide users of the new Smarter Balanced Assessments, based on psychometric standards for general test use and on specific features of these assessments. The suite of assessments offered by Smarter Balanced offers many advances that can help to strengthen teaching and learning. Like any other tests, they must be properly used to achieve these benefits. This paper offers guidance about how to understand and best employ the assessments and the scores they produce.