SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Update from

SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)
Update from the California Department of Education (CDE)
Issue 21 (Week beginning Monday, May 21, 2012)
Technology Readiness Tool Data Collection Window Extended
SBAC eNewsletter Launched
Updated Item Specifications Documents Available
Guidelines for Purchasing New Hardware
The SBAC CDE weekly update is an email sent each week to inform California
educators and parents of new developments and upcoming events. Please feel free to
share information in the update with those who are interested in the SBAC CDE’s work.
Technology Readiness Tool Data Collection Window Extended—The first
data collection window for the Technology Readiness Tool has been extended to
June 30, 2012 (11:59 p.m. Hawaiian time). This extension was made at the
request of states and will allow districts more time to submit data following the
end of the school year. After the window closes, the data will be extracted,
cleaned, and incorporated into a report regarding a technology plan and support
for legacy operating systems (expected to be completed August 2012). Please
be aware that the tool will remain open for subsequent data edits in preparation
for the second data collection window anticipated in September 2012.
SBAC eNewsletter Launched—SBAC News, the SBAC’s monthly eNewsletter,
will provide updates on the development of the assessment system and activities
in member states. The May edition includes information on new Common Core
State Standards (CCSS) tools and resources, support for classroom teachers,
and technology readiness—along with recent articles and announcements from
SBAC. SBAC News is available on the SBAC website at . To sign up to receive future editions,
visit . Please be sure to add as an approved sender to ensure the message
doesn’t get labeled as spam.
Updated Item Specifications Documents Available—The item specifications
provide item writers with guidance on how to translate the CCSS into items and
tasks that will be contained within the Smarter Balanced assessment. It is
recommended that individuals read the General Specifications document to best
orient them to the breadth of the available materials. There are both item tables
and sample items available. These documents represent the best current
thinking on item alignment; however, SBAC expects them to be updated as
ongoing item and test developments occur. In addition, guidelines for bias and
sensitivity, accessibility and accommodations, and style help item developers
and reviewers ensure consistency and fairness. The updated item specifications
materials are available on the SBAC’s website at . Below
are direct links to the general ELA/literacy and mathematics item/task
specifications documents.
- Grades 3–5
- Grades 6–8
High school
Guidelines for Purchasing New Hardware—designed to inform schools and
districts on current and future technology purchasing decisions consistent with
SBAC requirements. The guidelines include hardware and operating system
specifications covering the vast majority of commercially available computers and
tablets. Specifications are described below. The full guidelines are available
online at Outside Source). The Guidelines for Purchasing New
Hardware Frequently Asked Questions are at the end of this update.
-1 GHz or faster
Operating System
-Windows 7
-Mac 10.7
-1 GB RAM or
greater memory
-9.5 inch (10 inch
class) or larger
screen size
-Linux (Ubuntu 11.10,
Fedora 16)
-Chrome OS
-Apple iOS
-1024 x 768 or better
screen resolution
-Android 4.0
-Wired or wireless
Device Type
netbooks, thin
client, and
tablets that
meet the
system, and
The CDE and SBAC understand that schools and districts may be making
decisions about what types of hardware and software to purchase for future
instructional and assessment use. The Guidelines for Purchasing New Hardware
Update from the California Department of Education (CDE)
Issue 21 (Week beginning Monday, May 21, 2012)
document will be useful in determining that any devices acquired over the next two
years will be compatible with the new assessments. As part of your plans to
support instruction, districts and schools may select computer systems that meet or
exceed these guidelines and be confident that those systems will work with the
assessments in the 2014-15 school year. Support for operating systems not
specified, predating those specified, or with processor capacities lower than
recommended, will be described in future updates to these guidelines on the SBAC
site listed above.
These specifications do not constitute the full list of technical requirements that will
be necessary to administer the SBAC assessments 2014-2015. The SBAC
member states will collaborate to use the Technology Readiness Survey and
assessment design processes currently underway to shape the full and final list of
requirements including guidance on bandwidth, test system security, and alternate
input devices. Thus, it is vitally important that schools and districts continue to
complete the Technology Readiness Survey. By using the Technology Readiness
Tool, schools and districts will be able to submit information on key readiness
indicators, including: number and type of computers and devices; ratio of devices to
test-takers; local network and bandwidth infrastructure; and local staff resources.
Technology Readiness Data Collection Rollout—
April 16–June 30, Statewide LEAS Data Collection: The statewide data
collection window is now open and will close on June 30, 2012. Visit the CDE
SBAC Web site at to view
materials related to the statewide Technology Readiness Tool rollout. The
reporting system for the Technology Readiness Tool will include district reports
and the submission status for each school where information has been
SBAC CDE Resources
Join the SBAC CDE electronic mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to .
To receive Common Core State Standards CDE Updates via e-mail notification,
subscribe to the from CDE listserv by sending a blank message to .
SBAC CDE Website—The SBAC CDE website can be found at The site includes access to
archived SBAC CDE Updates, resources, and presentations.
Update from the California Department of Education (CDE)
Issue 21 (Week beginning Monday, May 21, 2012)
SBAC External Website—The Smarter Balanced external website can be found
at The site showcases the SBAC work and provides
frequent updates on activities, milestones, and events.
SBAC is on Twitter—Follow @SmarterBalanced to get resources and links to the
latest SBAC news.
Assembly Bill (AB) 250—The AB 250 Statewide Pupil Assessment Web page at provides the latest information about
the reauthorization of California's assessment system.
Automated Student Assessment Prize winners announced—Sponsored by the
Hewlett Foundation, the Automated Student Assessment Prize (ASAP) evaluated
the ability of technology to assist in grading essays included in standardized
tests. The second phase of the competition awarded $100,000 to three winning
teams that developed software that came closest to replicating the scores of
essays graded by trained educators. Information on the winners is available at . The research produced by the competition is
impressive and will help SBAC understand the extent to which automated essay
scoring can be used in the development of Smarter Balanced assessments.
More information is available at,0,1234836.story .
SBAC Year Two, Second Quarter Project Report available—The quarterly project
report for the period ending March 31, 2012, can be found at The report details
SBAC progress in key areas and priorities for the next three months.
SBAC Questions/Answers of the Week
Q: Does a shared assessment system require a shared or common curriculum?
A: No. SBAC believes that curriculum decisions are best made by educators at the
local and state levels. States participating in SBAC will have access to professional
development materials and instructional resources for teachers through a digital
library. These tools are optional and can be used, as needed, to complement state
curriculum supports to districts and teachers.
Q: Will Smarter Balanced assessments be available for private schools in the 2014-15
school year in states that will be using the Smarter Balanced assessments to test
public school students?
A: Access to the Smarter Balanced assessments for private schools is one of a number
of implementation issues being addressed by the SBAC Sustainability Task Force.
Update from the California Department of Education (CDE)
Issue 21 (Week beginning Monday, May 21, 2012)
This task force will provide recommendations regarding how states will procure,
administer, and maintain the Smarter Balanced assessment system after the federal
grant ends in October 2014. This work is associated with RFP-22, Organization
Development and Business Process Consulting. More information is posted at . Recommendations from the
task force are expected later this year.
Update from the California Department of Education (CDE)
Issue 21 (Week beginning Monday, May 21, 2012)