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Common Core + Smarter Balanced


All school districts in Washington State are aligning their coursework to ensure that every student is prepared for the next grade level as part of a nationwide program called Common Core. In addition, a new assessment test called the Smarter-Balanced Test will replace Washington State’s annual assessment tests for grades 3-10.

What is Common Core?

The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards designed to ensure students throughout the country will learn and know the same skills for mathematics and English language arts (ELA) by the end of each grade. Although each state can determine the curriculum that will teach those skills, the Common Core standards are unified throughout the United States. 

Common Core Standards
  • Research- and evidence-based
  • Clear, understandable, and consistent
  • Aligned with college and career expectations
  • Based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills
  • Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
  • Informed by other top-performing countries in order to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society
Smarter-Balanced Assessment

The Smarter Balanced Assessment replaces existing English and math assessments for students in grades 3-8 and high school. The new assessments measure critical thinking with questions designed to ask students to demonstrate their research, writing, and problem-solving skills. The goal is to provide parents, teachers, and policymakers with better tools to monitor students, helping them succeed, thrive, and to increase student learning.

The Smarter-Balanced Test replaces previous state assessments: most recently, these included the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) and the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE). For more information on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, you can visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State’s website at: www.k12.wa.us/smarter

When will Ridgefield’s students begin taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment?

Ridgefield School District’s students began taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in the 2014-2015 school year. We continue to administer the required state assessments.

For more information related to state testing please see State Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Smarter Balanced Assessment affect our high school students?
As Ridgefield High School does for all finals, the school’s teachers make the determination on the grading process and how much the state assessment counts toward a student’s final grades.

How will the Smarter Balanced Assessment results be reflected on Ridgefield High School students’ transcripts?

The Smarter Balanced Assessment will be reported on students’ transcripts as Pass/Fail. In other words, students will see the following on their transcripts:

Met Reading Standard: Yes or No
Met Writing Standard: Yes or No

This method of assessment reporting matches the way previous state assessments would be reported on students’ transcripts.

Can parents refuse for their high school students to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment?

Parents may refuse for their students to participate in the state testing. If parents wish to explore this option, they should schedule a meeting with the building principal to discuss this in detail. If a parent refuses to have his/her child participate in a required high school state assessments, the student will not receive a diploma.

Do you have additional questions?  Send us an email.