Benefits to taking the Smarter Balanced Assessments
There are many benefits to taking state assessments. Chief among them is that test results help teachers improve their teaching. Hillsboro School District administrators and teachers use test data to target and improve areas where students appear to struggle. For high school students, there are some added benefits that go beyond the data. Below are just a few of them.
- Earning a diploma. If you are a high school student who has not yet met Essential Skills graduation requirements, Smarter Balanced tests provide opportunities to meet these requirements in math, reading, and writing. Students should see their high school counselor to know exactly what is required for graduation and how they can use Smarter Balanced scores to help meet those requirements.
- Measures critical thinking. The Smarter Balanced Assessment is designed to assess students' ability to think critically, solve real-life problems, and explain their reasoning. The online assessment is computer-adaptive, meaning that it adjusts its level of difficulty based on performance during the test, resulting in a more accurate measure of knowledge and abilities. This is important as students plan their next steps beyond high school.
- Endorsed by higher education. High school students who earn a level 3 or 4 on Smarter Balanced math and English language arts tests, and who have completed certain high school courses, may be exempted from college placement testing (Not all colleges and universities use SBA scores for placement. Check with your student's potential colleges or universities.) That means students may not have to take college entrance exams or spend time and money taking remedial courses in math, writing, and reading.
- Current with career and college expectations. The online assessment uses the latest technology, real-life problem situations, and research-oriented reading and writing to reflect current career and college expectations. As graduates progress through their career goals, there will likely be times when they will need to demonstrate their ability to learn, use technology, and think critically in the workforce. Taking Smarter Balanced tests helps prepare graduates for a continually changing workplace.
- Improves student learning. The Smarter Balanced Assessment is part of a complete system—including formative/classroom assessments and other resources—that helps teachers and other educational leaders improve student learning. By taking the Smarter Balanced tests, students will not only get information about their learning, they will also contribute information to the system as a whole, helping improve education for all students in Hillsboro districts schools. Thank you for your participation!