In 2010, Idaho joined 28 other states in the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium to create a common, innovative assessment system for mathematics and English language arts that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and helps prepare students for college and careers. This new assessment will take the place of the ISAT  in the 2013-2014 school year in grades 03-08.
 
The Smarter-Balanced Assessment (SBAC) is not a "one shot test" and includes:
  1. A summative exam, required by No Child Left Behind, with a retake option offered;
  2. Optional interim, or benchmark, exams given by your classroom teacher, and;
  3. A variety of formative tools, processes and practices for teachers to use in planning and implementing informal, ongoing assessments. This will assist teachers in understanding what students are and are not learning on a daily basis so they can adjust instruction accordingly. Based on the Consortium’s work, students will have the option to take interim exams, which provide guidance to teachers about instructional milestones. These interim tests, and multiple opportunities to take what are traditionally year-end summative exams, will move the testing process away from the traditional "one-size-fits-all" state exams. The goal is for students who score well on specific learning standards earlier in the school year not to be tested on those standards later on an end-of-the-year test because they’ve already demonstrated proficiency.What is the difference between last year’s test (ISAT) and the new test?
    The biggest difference is the new assessment will be computer adaptive, which means when a student gets a question right, he or she gets a more difficult question. If another student gets the same question wrong, he or she is sent down a different questioning path. There are 50,000 questions in the Smarter Balanced bank and that will grow over time.
ISAT to SBAC Comparison
What happens in the 2013-2014 school year?
All students in grades 03-11 will take the field test for the Smarter-Balanced Assessment.  No student, school, or district scores are received.  The field test is designed to test the test and set the cut scores of what will label proficient to below basic. About 10 percent of the test results from the 26 states in the consortium will be used to establish the cut scores, which is about 2 million students. Students who are part of that research will not know their score or how it may be used.

What happens the following school year (2014-15)?
All students will take the Smarter Balanced Assessment and schools will be held accountable based on those results.

What holds schools accountable in the 2013-2014 school year?
Schools will have the same five-star rating in 2014 that they that they earned in 2013. This gives time for schools to implement Idaho Core Standards.

How are students expected to perform on the new assessments?
The Idaho State Department of Education expects the rate of proficiency to drop throughout the state as districts are setting a new bar with these higher standards.
 
How will the test be scored?
The exam will be scored partially by computer and by humans to score most of the items, such as essay questions. However, with this inclusion, there will not be immediate feedback, as was the case with ISAT testing because it was all scored by a computer. It may be a month before schools have Smarter Balanced Assessment results.

How long with the new assessments take?
The test will take about twice as long, but will only be in two subject areas (English Language Arts and Mathematics).