Assessment | News

Wyoming and North Dakota Lock onto Smarter Balanced

Two states have switched their status within the Common Core online assessment consortium. Within the last month both Wyoming and North Dakota have shifted from being "advisory" to "governing" states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. This new status means they'll be able to give input on the design of the assessment system under development and vote on fiscal and policy decisions.

The new additions bring the total number of governing states in Smarter Balanced to 23. Now, only Pennsylvania and Alaska retain advisory status. The consortium also has an affiliate member category, which applies to the United States Virgin Islands.

Advisory states can choose to be part of "work groups," which weigh in on item development, reporting, test administration, and other areas of assessment work. Affiliate members support the work of Smarter Balanced but haven't committed.

North Dakota's Department of Public Instruction made the switch in status in early July because the consortium was a "good fit" for the state, according to State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler. "The consortium includes a number of neighboring states with similar educational ideals" and offers opportunities for "future regional cooperation," the state said in a prepared statement.

"Our world is rapidly changing — career needs and educational practices are evolving to adapt to that changing world," Baesler said. "We look forward to this next step in helping our educational systems meet these needs, to continue to prepare North Dakota students to succeed in their careers and in college."

In April and May 2013 Wyoming students participated in Smarter Balanced's national scientific pilot, which provided the consortium with an opportunity to assess potential biases in the test and gauge assessment validity and reliability.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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