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11-25-13: State ushers in new 'Smarter Balanced' assessment
11-25-13: State ushers in new 'Smarter Balanced' assessment
Posted on 11/25/2001

For most elementary and junior high school students, this spring will mark the first time in four years that they will no longer take the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) state test in math, reading, and writing.


The math and literacy sections of the MSP are being replaced by a new “Smarter Balanced” assessment. The online assessment was tested last spring in 11 Puyallup schools — the most from any school district statewide.


Students will try out the Smarter Balanced assessment as part of the state’s continued testing phase again this spring in every junior high and all but two (Firgrove and Spinning) elementary schools.


Fifth and eighth graders statewide will continue, however, to take the MSP in science this spring.Image


Full implementation of the new Smarter Balanced test will occur throughout the Puyallup School District and Washington state in spring 2015. The test will be given to students in grades three through eight, and in grade 11.


The test is organized in two content areas – math, and English language arts/literacy (combines reading and writing).


The Smarter Balanced assessment is aligned to a set of national standards — or learning goals — in math and English language arts/literacy. These standards are called “Common Core” and define the knowledge and skills students need to be prepared for college and career opportunities.


The online Smarter Balanced tests are taken on a computer and include multiple choice questions, as well as short and long responses and performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate real-world problem solving.


Practice tests for the new Smarter Balanced assessment are available for parents and students to view on the Internet. A link to the practice tests is posted on the Puyallup School District website at 


More information about Smarter Balanced tests is available at


Common Core


By the 2014-15 school year, the Common Core standards will be fully implemented in kindergarten through grade 12 in schools across Washington and many other states across the nation.


Common Core standards replace Washington’s current math, reading, and writing learning standards.


By having a common set of math, reading, and writing learning goals across the country, educators say it will help prepare a child for a smoother transition between schools when a family moves from one state to another.


More information about Common Core standards is available at


New test brings new rigor


The new Smarter Balanced assessment is expected to be more rigorous than the MSP, said Glenn Malone, executive director of assessment, accountability, and student success. Families can expect, therefore, to see a drop in student test scores statewide beginning with the first year of implementation in spring 2015, Malone said.


Because the Smarter Balanced assessment is still in the testing phase this year, student scores from the spring 2014 field test will not be available to school districts or the students’ families, Malone said.