Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Selects CTB/McGraw-Hill to Develop Next Generation of Assessments to Help Schools Meet New Common Core State Standards

CTB to develop nearly 10,000 test items for new assessments that will help schools evaluate students' progress toward meeting the new standards

Award represents the largest contract issued to date by Smarter Balanced to an assessment provider

Apr 16, 2012, 11:36 ET from CTB/McGraw-Hill

MONTEREY, Calif., April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- CTB/McGraw-Hill, one of the nation's leading educational assessment partners, today announced that it has been selected by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to develop the first set of test items for the new Common Core Assessments, which states will be able to use to evaluate the progress of elementary, middle and high school students toward meeting the new Common Core State Standards. This marks the largest contract to date that Smarter Balanced has awarded to an assessment partner and represents a leap forward in the development of the next generation of student assessments.

Smarter Balanced is one of two state-led consortia funded by the U.S. Department of Education to develop assessment tools to help states gauge student progress toward meeting the new Common Core State Standards. Adopted at the state level beginning in 2010, the Common Core State Standards align K-12 instruction across the country to better prepare students for success in college and their careers. The standards have been adopted by 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, with many states working this year on transition strategies to migrate instruction, curriculum and assessment to the new standards.

As part of the contract, CTB and its partners will develop nearly 10,000 test items for the Smarter Balanced assessment system, which will be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. These test items, which will be subject to extensive research under the contract, will include a variety of innovative formats, challenging performance elements and rich technological enhancements.

"The Common Core State Standards hold the incredible promise of preparing all of our students for post-secondary success. Innovative assessments that help measure students' progress toward meeting them are critical to fulfilling this promise," said Ellen Haley, president of CTB/McGraw-Hill. "We're extremely excited to be partnering with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to help develop this next generation of assessments."

Smarter Balanced selected CTB for the award in large part due to the company's long track record of success in developing high-quality content as well as its commitment to innovation.

To develop the test items for the Smarter Balanced assessment system, CTB will lead a collaborative team involving five partners, including:

  • American Institutes for Research, which will be involved in the development of technology-enabled test items and new open-source scoring engines as well as research into new item types through cognitive laboratory studies and small scale trials.
  • Data Recognition Corporation, which will also assist in item development and scoring.
  • The Council for Aid to Education, which will support development of performance tasks.
  • HumRRO, which will focus on evaluation of item procurement options.
  • The College Board, which will provide validity work focused on college and career readiness.

The partnership brings together the expertise and experience of each company to develop innovative performance assessments and technology-enhanced items that will support Smarter Balanced's goals for the next generation of assessments.

Once the test items have been developed, states will select partners to build assessments around the items and deliver them to students. CTB looks forward to working with the schools participating in pilots of these assessments and incorporating their feedback.

Since the Common Core State Standards were formalized in 2010, CTB has developed a number of solutions to help states and schools through the transition process. In June of 2011, CTB released a Common Core-aligned version of its flagship interim benchmark assessment solution Acuity, as well as the all-new Acuity for High School, which CTB built from the ground up to align with the Common Core State Standards. In December 2011, CTB launched CoreLink Services, a set of services and test items designed to serve as a bridge between current state assessments and the new Common Core Assessments, and in February launched TerraNova Common Core, a national achievement test that represents the only field-tested, valid and authentic measure of the Common Core State Standards currently on the market.

For more information on CTB's work in developing the next generation of assessments, please visit:

About CTB/McGraw-Hill

CTB/McGraw-Hill has an 85-year record of innovation and excellence in assessment, and serves more than 18 million students in all 50 states and in 49 countries. One of the first American publishers to introduce objective, standardized achievement tests to schools, today CTB/McGraw-Hill is a leader in testing with recognized products for online interim and formative, adult, and language proficiency assessment. Dedicated to advancing the use of student performance data to inform instructional decision making, CTB/McGraw-Hill's innovation continues today with technologies that include Web-based assessment and reporting, student response device software, and artificial intelligence for automated scoring of student essays. CTB/McGraw-Hill is part of McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). McGraw-Hill Education is a leading global provider of instructional, assessment and reference solutions that empower professionals and students of all ages. For more information, visit

Media Contact Tom Stanton (212) 904-3214