• State Testing Information


    Our school started participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment System (SBAC) beginning in the 2014-15 school year. The SBAC test measures math and English/Language Arts (ELA). Students in grades 5 and 8 will continue to take the MSP (Measure of Student Progress) for science.

    Please check out the links to the right for more information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

    Why do we have state standards and testing?

    Washington has had state standards and assessments for decades in a variety of iterations like the WASL (Washington State Assessment of Learning) and MSP (Measurements of Student Progress). Last spring (2015) we transitioned to Smarter Balanced assessments, which measure what students are learning in class.

    These tests serve as independent, objective measures of how students are doing. Clear, understandable test scores help teachers and parents work together to adjust their approach and better meet students’ needs. Standardized tests also provide data that the school can use to determine what’s working.

    How do Smarter Balanced tests compare with the MSP?


    What’s the same?

    Like the MSP, Smarter Balanced tests are untimed and utilize a variety of selected and constructed response items. And like our MSP testing in recent years, Smarter Balanced tests are delivered online.

    What’s new and different?

    • Smarter Balanced tests assess the state’s new learning standards. Both the standards and new tests require students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems and write persuasively.
    • Smarter Balanced tests have a computer adaptive component that customizes the test to match the students’ abilities. As needed, the question pool expands to include questions below or above the student’s grade level to identify which skills students have mastered.
    • Technology enhancements provide built-in accessibility tools for all students, supports for English language learners and accommodations for students with disabilities.
    • Smarter Balanced measures students’ progress toward college- and-career readiness. Beginning in grade 3, students are assessed to be sure they are on track to be college and career ready when they graduate from high school.
    • Over the last couple years, education experts from all around the country (including teachers and administrators from Washington) have redefined what knowledge and skills children should have when they graduate. These tests are harder because our new state standards are more rigorous.
    • Students can test over multiple days in shorter test sessions. It is estimated that elementary grade students will have a combined total of six to seven hours of testing spread out over several sessions or days. Middle school grades may spend a combined total seven to eight hours on Smarter Balanced tests.
    • Smarter Balanced utilizes a vertical scoring scale, which, in combination with the adaptive test software, means we will have a more reliable student growth measure over time.
    • Smarter Balanced tests are being used by more than 20 states. That means student results will truly be comparable across states in all grades.

    How do we expect McCleary students to do on Smarter Balanced assessments?

    The short answer is about the same as students all over the state and country. Based on field test data from multiple states, the anticipated passing rate was around 32-44% for the first year of Smarter Balanced assessments. This is similar to the first year with the WASL in 1997, which saw statewide passing rates of 21-48%.

    With our the new CCSS learning standards in place, it will likely take time for students to reach 70-90% passing rate that they’ve attained in recent years. Please keep in mind this assessment is only one measure of your child’s learning, growth and abilities. Your student’s teacher(s) is the best resource for a complete picture of your child’s academic proficiency.

    When will we get our student’s assessment results?

    Preliminary electronic results are projected to be available to schools in July. Reconciled and confirmed data is then sent to districts in August.

    Is there anything I can do to get my child ready for the assessments?


    As with any day of important learning in school, a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast are an essential start to a student’s day. Your child’s teachers will provide standards-aligned instruction and assessment, as well as adequate practice using the testing software to ensure familiarity so students can focus on showing what they know and can do. We recommend parents and guardians talk to their child about their learning and school day and keep things in perspective (and not overemphasize the test).