The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of the two multi-state consortia designing Common Core tests, on Friday announced its timeline for delivering key components of its assessment system to states for use in the 2014-15 school year.

SBAC and the Partnership for  Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are, with some $360 million in federal funds, designing exams aligned with the Core math and English Language Arts standards to be used by member states starting in the next school year.  The standards were adopted in 2010 and 2011, with the support of the Obama administration, by 45 states and the District of Columbia, though three states have repealed the Core and a few others have “rebranded” it or are considering doing so.

The two testing consortia are creating different exams though both are being designed to be taken on computer, though there will be paper versions for schools that don’t have enough technological capability. One of the key reasons the Core standards were created was for states to use common assessments that would allow comparisons of scores among the states. But  a number of states have been dropping out of  the two consortia, and an Education Week analysis found that in the next school year, 19 different accountability tests will be given in various states.

SBAC issued a statement with a timeline for delivering the key components of its assessment system, including a digital library of formative tools and practices, optional interim assessments, and summative assessments.  This spring, millions of students around the country have been field testing the exam (as well as PARCC’s test). From the statement:

* Digital Library: The Digital Library is an online collection of resources aligned to the Common Core that will support K-12 teachers in their use of the formative assessment process to adjust teaching to improve student learning. These resources include 102 commissioned, interactive assessment literacy and exemplar instructional modules in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Smarter Balanced is also working with more than 1,500 educators across member states to include additional tools and resources that will enhance classroom instruction. The library will have collaboration features that allow users to rate materials and to share their expertise with educators across the country. Educators in all member states will be able to preview the Digital Library from June through September, and it will be available to subscribing member states only beginning in October.

*Interim Assessments: Interim assessments provide educators with actionable information about student progress throughout the year, helping teachers, parents, and students understand whether students are on track for success. The interim assessments will be administered at locally determined intervals. Two options are available to teachers and schools.

— The Interim Comprehensive Assessment (ICA) will mirror the summative assessment, using the same design and requiring the same administration time. The ICA will feature a computer adaptive component and performance tasks. In addition, the ICA will report the same information as the summative assessment: overall composite scale score, achievement levels, and claim-level information. Teachers may administer the ICA mid-year to benchmark performance for a class, or may give the assessment to new students to better understand their skills and knowledge with regard to the summative assessment.

–Interim Assessment Blocks (IAB) will focus on a smaller set of skills and are designed to provide more targeted information about student performance for teachers. Results will be reported in a manner consistent with the level of detail on the summative assessment. Teachers may use an IAB at the end of a unit of instruction to check students’ understanding, or a district could choose to administer an IAB to all schools.

The uses of the ICA or IAB will be established at the state, district, or school level. The interim assessments will be available to member states in fall 2014.

* Summative Assessment: The year-end assessment will be administered during the last 12 weeks of the school year, providing an accurate and fair measure of student growth and achievement for accountability purposes. The summative assessment includes a computer adaptive test and performance tasks that require students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to real-world problems. States will administer the summative assessment in spring 2015.