SmarterApp is a community of organizations devoted to collaboration on an open software suite for the support of educational assessment. The project is used by but is not exclusive to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
Please see the About Page for more information about SmarterApp.org.
16 Aug 2016: ISAAP Accessibility Feature Codes
Smarter Balanced has added a minor update to the ISAAP Feature Codes by specifying that the Item Tools Menu should default to the ON code (TDS_ITM1).
04 Aug 2016: Test Results Reporting Requirements Supplement
Smarter Balanced has provided a supplement to the test results reporting requirements. The supplemental document is available here.
02 Aug 2016: Scoring Specification Updates
Smarter Balanced has updated the scoring specifications. The updated version is now available here. Updates, including the options available for the use of HOSS/LOSS, are noted in the change log at the end of the document.
01 Aug 2016: DataWarehouse Updates
Smarter Balanced has updated specs and documentation regarding the Reporting Data Warehouse:
Data Warehouse Data Specification - Student Assessments
Data Warehouse Data Specification - Score Batching
Data Warehouse - Data Model
Data Warehouse - Runbook
21 Jul 2016: TRT Updates
Smarter Balanced has updated the Test Results Transmission (TRT) format specification document by changing certain fields from required to optional consistent with their designation in the Data Dictionary and Logical Data Model.
13 Jul 2016: ISAAP Feature Codes Added
Smarter Balanced has added new feature codes to the ISAAP Accessibility Feature Codes document. The new codes are:
- non-embedded designated support for simplified test directions
- non-embedded accommodation for 100s number table
See the Revision History in the document for details.
08 Jul 2016: ISAAP Feature Codes Specification Updated
Smarter Balanced has updated the ISAAP Accessibility Feature Codes with a correction to the legacy braille codes. See the Revision History in the document for details.
30 Jun 2016: Item Types and Accessibility Features Updated
Smarter Balanced has updated the Item Types and Accessibility Features summary to include details about all three variants of Grid Item.
29 Jun 2016: Source code on GitHub
08 Jun 2016: Test Results Data Model
Smarter Balanced has posted an update to the Test Results Data Model. The update corrects the acceptable values for EconomicDisadvantageStatus. See the change log at the beginning of the document for details.
07 Jun 2016: Test Package Format Specifications
Smarter Balanced and Fairway Technologies are pleased to release specifications to the following test package formats:
06 Jun 2016: Test Delivery System enhancements, Documentation and Hosting Requirements
Smarter Balanced and Fairway Technologies are pleased to release updates to the SmaterApp test delivery software that incorporates the final set of performance improvements. Along with the code updates is documentation to assist in deploying the various components that comprise the shared services and test delivery system and revised hosting requirements information.
- Performance improvements
- Secure Browser Session Launch Protocol
- Illustration Glossary accessibility feature
- Performance improvements
- Test Results Transmission updates
- Performance improvements
- TDS Routing capability using the new Test Delivery System Router component
- Secure Browser Session Launch Protocol
- Illustration Glossary accessibility feature
- Test Results Transmission updates
- User search performance improvements
- Illustration Glossary accessibility feature
- Test Results Transmission updates
- Configuration and documentation in the README file
26 May 2016: Test Results Data Model
Smarter Balanced has posted an update to the Test Results Data Model. The update corrects the Claim2 and Claim3 score and SEM references for AIR data elements, specifically for ELA scores.
26 May 2016: Item Metadata Specification
Smarter Balanced has posted an update to the Item Metadata Specification. The update adds a new element <IrtStatDomain> to the IrtDimension hierarchy.
18 May 2016: Test Authoring User Guide
14 May 2016: ARI Prototype
Smarter Balanced has posted the Accessible Rendered Item (ARI) Prototype including source code, technical specification, and software requirements. See the ARI Page and the ARI Prototype Page for details.
01 Apr 2016: Test Results Data Dictionary, ISAAP Codes, Reporting User Guide
Smarter Balanced has posted several new and updated documents in the last few days.
- The Test Results Data Dictionary and Logical Data Model now includes footnote references to the business rules for determining validity and completeness.
- The ISAAP Accessibility Feature Codes now include codes for UEB Braille in anticipation of future support in the Test Delivery System.
- We have a draft summary of Smarter Balanced Item Types and Embedded Accessibility Features.
- The Implementation Readiness Package Cross Reference lists all items included in the IRP test packages including subject, type, and variation metadata; and cross-references them to where the same items appear in the Practice and Training Tests.
- The Reporting User Guide has been updated to include all of the new features of the open source reporting system deployed in the last year.
09 Feb 2016: Test Results - Data Dictionary and Data Model Update
Smarter Balanced has updated the Test Results - Data Dictionary and Logical Data Model specification to match the requirements for reporting summative test data in for the Spring 2016 summative test administration.
27 Jan 2016: Test Delivery System Interim Performance Release
Smarter Balanced and Fairway Technologies are pleased to release an update to the SmarterApp test delivery software that incorporates an initial set of performance improvements. The source code will be updated this week. The Accompanying Performance Report is immediately available and indicates that this release achieves a 75% improvement in concurrent student capacity.
20 Jan 2016: Reporting-Data Warehouse Software Update
The source code to the Reporting and Data Warehouse system was updated on January 14, 2016. This update includes the following new features:
- Public Reporting Sites
- AdministrationCondition Field (Valid, Invalid, Standardized, and NonStandardized)
- Completeness Field (Complete, Partial)
Smarter Balanced presently has two open technology RFPs: Reporting-Data Warehouse and Test Delivery System. The proposal due date for both of these RFPs has been extended to February 8, 2016. Interested parties should browse to the University of California Public Bid Site and search for “Smarter Balanced”.
05 Jan 2016: Secure Browsers for Spring 2016
The secure browsers for testing in Spring 2016 are available for download from the Smarter Balanced FTP site. These browsers correspond to the open source test delivery system. Smarter Balanced members should consult their service provider regarding the appropriate secure browser.
05 Jan 2016: Reporting and Data Warehouse code Publicly Visible
In partnership with Amplify, Smarter Balanced is pleased to release source code to the Reporting and Data Warehouse system.
Source code is made publicly available for examination only. Only Smarter Balanced, its members, and contractors thereof are licensed to deploy the code operationally. An open source license is expected in August 2016. Please see the associated license.md for details.
23 Dec 2015: RFP for enhancements to the Smarter Balanced Open Source Reporting and Data Warehouse System
Smarter Balanced - UCLA has posted an RFP for Enhancements to the Open Source Reporting and Data Warehouse. Similar to the Test Delivery System RFP, our goal is to create a compelling open source reporting solution for Smarter Balanced members that is also applicable to many other assessments. The RFP includes data import flexibility, customization, and applicability to additional assessments and subjects beyond ELA and Mathematics.
Interested parties should browse to the University of California Public Bid Site and search for “Smarter Balanced Reporting”.
Don’t miss the RFP for the Test Delivery System that was posted yesterday. And, Happy Holidays to you and yours!
22 Dec 2015: RFP for enhancements to the Smarter Balanced Open Source Test Delivery System
Smarter Balanced - UCLA has posted an RFP for Enhancements to the Open Source Test Delivery System. This update is targeted at the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. The goal is to create a compelling open source testing solution for Smarter Balanced members that is also applicable to many other assessments. The RFP includes much greater scalability, new accessibility features, and updates to the assessment item format. Interested parties should browse to the University of California Public Bid Site and search for “Smarter Balanced”.
Stay tuned, more RFP news will be posted soon!
10 Dec 2015: Digital Library Sample Module
Smarter Balanced has posted a Sample Instructional Module to accompany the Instructions for Building Instructional Modules for the Digital Library
16 Nov 2015: Secure Browsers RFP Release
Smarter Balanced has released an open RFP for Secure Browsers for the 2016-2017 school year. Click here to access the University of California Public Bid Site and search for “Secure Browser” or “Smarter Balanced”. The opportunity number is “RFP-2015-04-MMAC0-0288”. Note that the description of the RFP currently indicates the “2015-2016 school year”. That will be corrected shortly. Please register with the site in order to be notified about answers to questions or any amendments to the RFP.
12 Nov 2015: Administration and Registration Tools Release 72
Smarter Balanced and the American Institutes for Research have released a software update to the Administration and Registration tools. This Release 72 includes the ability to customize accessibility feature availability by subject and grade. It also allows for multiple non-embedded designated supports. The included configuration file includes recommended feature settings for Smarter Balanced testing in 2015-2016.
29 Oct 2015: Test Results Data and Test Packages
Today we have made the following updates on SmarterApp.
The Guidelines for iPad use in Testing have been updated for the 2015-2016 school year. Smarter Balanced encourages members and their service providers to coordinate messaging to the schools and districts they serve.
ISAAP Accessibility Feature Codes is a new specification defining the accessibility feature codes and describing how they are transmitted between systems. This information was previously embedded in several specifications. We hope that consolidating it here will be more convenient.
The Test Results Data Dictionary and Logical Data Model have been updated to include additional data elements and a more exact cross reference to serialization format specifications.
02 Oct 2015: Test Results Data and Test Packages
Today we have posted three new and updated documents on SmarterApp.
Assessment Package Types in the Smarter Balanced Distributions has updated descriptions of the five assessment package types. This is posted in conjunction with the October 1st release of Smarter Balanced Summative Test Packages for 2015-2016.
De-Identification of Student IDs is a Non-Technical memo explaining to Smarter Balanced Member Agencies what to expect when their service providers use Keyed Cryptographic Hashing to produce Alterate Student IDs to preserve student privacy.
Student ID Cryptographic Hash Algorithm has been augmented to include an algorithm description in addition to the existing sample code.
10 Sep 2015: Procurement News and Sample Code
Over the next couple of months, Smarter Balanced will releasing RFPs for several enhancements to the technology platform. We have obtained permission to announce the opening of RFPs on this news feed. The official announcements will be on the UCLA Purchasing website and we will link to those announcements. If you received this announcement by email or RSS then you will get procurement news the same way. Otherwise, we encourage you to subscribe using the formlet in the upper-right of the SmarterApp.org home page.
Smarter Balanced has posted sample code for securely hashing student IDs into AlternateSSIDs. This approach is suitable for meeting Smarter Balanced requirements while preserving student privacy.
26 Aug 2015: Test Results Data Model
Smarter Balanced has posted one new specification and two sets of sample data on SmarterApp.org:
- Test Results - Data Dictionary and Logical Data Model is a new specification that describes SmarterApp test results at a logical data model layer. It’s helpful for cross referencing with state data models and with data transmission formats. Includes cross references to SmarterApp data formats and Common Education Data Standards.
- The Implementation Readiness Test Packages are a set of test packages to support development and testing of test delivery systems. The packages include samples of all SmarterApp item types including machine scoring rubrics for all machine-scored items. The samples include test packages for computer-adaptive tests and fixed-form performance tasks.
- The Sample Test Results in TRT Format are a set of simulated student test results in Test Results Transmission Format. They are suitable for development and testing of data conversion, import, analytics, and reporting systems.
17 Jun 2015: Item Response Format Specification
Smarter Balanced has posted four new specifications and one update on SmarterApp.org:
- New: Test Condition codes is a new specification that describes the validity and completeness test condition codes and rules for deriving their values.
- Updated: The Test Results Transmission Format includes the new test condition codes and details for which fields should be present when transmitting de-identified student data.
- New: The Data Dictionary for High School Test Results describes the high school test results data to be sent to colleges and universities for placement purposes. A CSV file containing simulated student data is included.
- New: The Secure Browser Session Launch Protocol specifies a new protocol for starting secure browser sessions without requiring the server URL to be hard-coded into the browser. Smarter Balanced seeks feedback on this draft specification.
- New: The Diagnostic API is a proposed API specification for system diagnostics on web applications. Smarter Balanced seeks feedback on this draft specification.
23 Apr 2015: Item Response Format Specification
15 Apr 2015: Issues Management - Getting Started
The Getting Started guide for SmarterApp Issues Management has been posted in the Deployment section of SmarterApp.org. This offers guidance on how to report bugs and enhancement requests regarding SmarterApp software.
30 Mar 2015: User Guides and Manuals
A new Manuals and User Guides section has been added to SmarterApp.org to make it easier to find the user guides that correspond to SmarterApp software applications. Seven user guides that were previously posted in the Specifications section have been moved into the new Manuals section.
The Test Administrator User Guide Template was added to the Manuals section. Most of the state assessment service providers have already customized this user guide to their particular states’ needs and distributed it. The template is posted as a generic reference and as a basis for future customization.
17 Mar 2015: Training Materials, Braille Fixed Form, and Updated Scoring Specifications
Smarter Balanced posted three documents associated with the 2015 test administration:
- Links to Public Training and Operations Materials.
- An Announcement of the Availability of Pre-Embossed Tactile Graphics for the Fixed-Form Braille Test
- Update to the Test Scoring Specification
05 Mar 2015: iPad Guidelines
Smarter Balanced has posted Guidelines for the Configuration of iPads During Smarter Balanced Testing. These are the same guidelines that were sent out to Smarter Balanced States and Service Providers on 26 February 2015.
28 Feb 2015: Reporting Guides
06 Feb 2015: Online Dictionary
Newly added to SmarterApp are Guidelines for access to the Merriam-Webster online dictionaries licensed for use in Smarter Balanced assessments.
28 Jan 2015: Reporting Roles and More
A new specification on SmarterApp describes the Security Roles for Data Warehouse and Reporting. The Test Results Transmission Format includes an updated XSD schema and sample test results. The new Test Score Batcher API specification describes the API for submitting test results to the data warehouse. And a number of other Data Warehouse Specifications have been updated.
17 Jan 2015: Three New Docs, One New Application, and Four Updates
Today Smarter Balanced has posted three new documents, added source code for a new application, and updated four specifications on SmarterApp.org:
- The Assessment Package Types glossary will offer some clarity as the Test Packages are released later this month.
- The Embedded Field Test Plan describes Smarter Balanced plans for field test items to be embedded in the Spring 2015 summative CAT tests. These items will be distributed separately from the regular Test Content Packages.
- Interpreting Smarter Balanced Standard IDs explains how to interpret Standard IDs embedded in item metadata and how to extract claim and target information.
- Source code to the Item Authoring and Item Pool application has been posted and made available to the community.
- The Test Results Transmission Format specification has been updated with an improved XSD schema and a second sample result. Both the schema and the sample result are posted as separate files in their native formats.
- The Data Warehouse Score Batching Specification has been updated.
- The Digital Library Technical Documentation and Performance Test Runbook have been updated.
03 Jan 2015: Item Layouts Guide
02 Jan 2015: Test Integration Source and User Guides
User Guides to four Shared Services components have been posted:
23 Dec 2014: Implementation Readiness Package and Scoring Specs
A Preliminary Edition of the Implementation Readiness Package has been posted including data and standards required to validate a Smarter Balanced test delivery platform.
The Test Scoring Specification describe the formulas to be used to calculate an overall scale score for a test from the individual item scores.
23 Dec 2014: Dictionary And Items
Two new documents and one update have been posted on SmarterApp.
The Dictionary API includes links to the API and guidelines on dictionary use as an Accessibility Feature.
The Questions and Answers includes answers to 13 new questions addressed in the December deployment meeting.
Item counts for the 2014/2015 interim assessments have been posted.
20 Dec 2014: Sample Item Responses
The Smarter Balanced Practice and Training Tests have been updated to include item scoring rubrics.
For those that have access to the Secure FTP site, the Interim Comprehensive Tests have also been updated.
19 Dec 2014: Sample Item Responses
A set of Sample Item Responses have been posted to prepare for hand scoring of items.
17 Dec 2014: New Deployment Section, Cut Scores, and More
The SmarterApp site has been augmented with a new Deployment section for documents associated with deployment of the tools for the Smarter Balanced assessments. Seven existing documents including the Questions and Answers from the monthly implementation calls have been moved to the new section.
The Smarter Balanced Cut Scores, have been posted in the Deployment section. These are the scale score values that distinguish between the four achievement levels in each tested grade.
The Implementation Readiness Package has been updated to reflect important design decisions. In particular, the work is divided into multiple phases and the tools and tests in the package are designed to work well with all Smarter Balanced deployments whether or not they are based on the open source applications.
Finally, the Test Results Transmission Format specification was updated with a sample output that better reflects the reporting of accommodations.
11 Dec 2014: Feed Restored
There was been a problem with the RSS Feed and the corresponding email subscription that prevented the last SmarterApp update, from December 6th, from being distributed. The problem has been fixed. Please check out SmarterApp.org for the latest updates.
06 Dec 2014: Four Specifications and Updated Q&A
Three new specifications have been posted and one has been updated:
- new Core Standards API
- new Item Scoring Custom Operators
- new Digital Library Instructional Module Technical Documentation
- updated Test Results Transmission Format
Also, the Implementation Questions and Answers have been updated based on information presented in the November 25 implementation meeting.
25 Nov 2014: Item Packaging and Item Metadata
Three updates today! The Assessment Item Packaging specification has been posted. The Item Metadata specification has been updated and is now in Acceptance Candidate status. And the The Practice and Training Tests have been moved to an public FTP server to facilitate downloading without the use of an FTP client.
17 Nov 2014: Complete Practice and Training Tests
The The Complete Practice and Training Tests have been posted. These include Practice Tests for grades 3-8 and High School plus Training Tests in three grade bands.
27 Oct 2014: ART Upload Formats and Item Metadata Draft
The The ART File Upload Format Specification has been upgraded to “Accepted” status. The review process resulted in no material changes from the previous draft.
The The SmarterApp Assessment Item Metadata Specification has been posted with draft status.
07 Oct 2014: Hand Scoring Rules and ART User Guide
The Smarter Balanced Hand Scoring Rules are now available to guide states and the vendors that will serve them.
The Administration and Registration Tools (ART) User Guide has also been posted.
01 Oct 2014: Source Code Release
After two years, many developers, and countless hours of design and development we’re excited to announce the first major source code release. On the SmarterApp Source Page we list 25 components of the test delivery system. Each includes a link to the associated code repositories. Other components will be released in the next three months. Many thanks to all who have contributed to the architecture specifications and development of this code.
30 Sep 2014: 25 New Questions Answered
The Questions and Answers Regarding Smarter Balanced Assessments have been updated with 25 more questions and answers that have been recently submitted by states and assessment vendors.
Also, the Technical Systems Documentation for the Digital Library have been posted. Smarter Balanced will continue to host the digital library on behalf of member states so the primary purpose of this posting is for other organizations who wish to launch their own digital library.
25 Sep 2014: Data Warehouse Docs and Practice Test Packages
On Friday, September 25 we posted nine new documents associated with the Data Warehouse and Reporting system. These include data format specifications, a deployment guide, system architecture, and data model.
Also posted is the Practice Test Package which includes test definitions for the four High School Practice Tests and a content package including all items in those four tests.
23 Sep 2014: Test Results Format
The Smarter Balanced Test Results Transmission Format specification has been updated and accepted. It contains everything about a student’s test event including questions presented, student responses, item scores, test scores, and accessibility features used.
16 Sep 2014: Smarter Balanced Implementation Readiness Package
A new document explaining the Smarter Balanced Assessment Delivery Implementation Readiness Package has been posted.
11 Sep 2014: SmarterApp Search Bar and Scoring Rubrics
Due to the accumulation of documents on SmarterApp.org we have added a search bar. It simply leverages Google site: search but it’s an effective solution. You’ll find the search bar at the top of each page.
A new memo explaining the Smarter Balanced format for scoring rubrics has been posted.
03 Sep 2014: Assessment System Architecture Updated
The final draft of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Item Format has been posted on SmarterApp.org. This release contains complete information about all Smarter Balanced assessment item types. Following editorial and technical review the document will be released as an approved specification.
08 Aug 2014: Assessment System Architecture Updated
Three new documents have been posted on SmarterApp.org.
The architecture team has updated the Smarter Balanced System Architecture and Technology Report. The original version was released in March of 2012 and has guided the development of the assessment delivery system. This version includes updates that reflect design decisions made during the development over the last two years. We thank Mike Powell and Measured Progress for coordinating the architecture and preparing and updating the architecture documents. (Final)
The Test Results Specification describes the complete set of student test results in the form that will be transmitted from test delivery systems into the data warehouse. (Draft)
Administration and Registration Tool - File Upload Formats describes the bulk file upload formats that will be used for provisioning user accounts and registering students. (Draft)
21 Jul 2014: Technology Implementation, Secure Browser, and Open Source
Three important new documents have been posted on SmarterApp.org:
- Smarter Balanced Technology Implementation Readiness is an update to the previous “Applications and Technology Certification” brief. This version offers more clarity about the “Implementation Readiness” program and includes the data flow diagrams from the CIO conference with explanations on assessment data flow options for states.
- Memo regarding Open Source Test Administration A memo from Smarter Balanced leadership emphasizing the consortium’s continuing commitment to the success of the open assessment delivery platform.
- Secure Browser Requirements and Specifications offers the information needed to develop secure browsers for high stakes testing. Third parties can follow these specifications to develop support for emerging devices.
07 Jun 2014: TRT Source Code and Assessment Item Format Update
We are excited to announce the first source code component to be posted on SmarterApp.org. The Technology Readiness Tool (TRT) is a project commissioned in 2012 by Smarter Balanced and PARCC and developed by Pearson. Details are on the SmarterApp Source Code Page.
In other news, the SmarterApp Assessment Item Format preview has been updated and is nearing completion.
20 May 2014: Assessment Item Format Updated
Two important new documents have been posted on the SmarterApp Specifications page and the experimental “SmarterApp Lab” section has been added.
- A preview specification for Adaptive Algorithm describes the algorithm for selecting assessment items in the Computer Adaptive Test.
- The Training Test Item Package Cross Reference cross-references all of the items in the Smarter Balanced Training Test with the encoded versions of those items in the Preview Assessment Item Package. Notably, the training test includes examples of all assessment item types.
- In the new SmarterApp Lab section we share source code for an experiment in pre-rendering assessment items to simplify assessment delivery and facilitate experimental interaction types.
22 Apr 2014: Assessment Item Format Updated
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Item Format has been updated. It is still preview status but includes important new information.
11 Apr 2014: Two New Documents Posted on SmarterApp.org
Two important new documents have been posted on the SmarterApp.org Specifications page: * “Smarter Balanced Applications Deployment and Technology Certification Overview” describes the components of the Smarter Balanced assessment platform, with particular attention to the components for which states are responsible. * “Questions and Answers Regarding Smarter Balanced Assessments” is a collection of more than 80 questions submitted by states and contractors, with detailed responses from Smarter Balanced to these questions.
07 Apr 2014: Smarter Balanced Profile of IMS APIP Task Force
IMS Global has formed a task force to develop a Smarter Balanced profile for IMS APIP. The task force met for the first time on April 3 and will meet regularly until the profile is complete. This is an important step in the Smarter Balanced commitment to make all assessment items available in the IMS APIP format.
28 Mar 2014: Specification Standards and Content Licenses
Three new documents have been posted on the SmarterApp Specifications page: * Smarter Balanced Data Format Specification Standards: Guidelines for the writing of specifications and standards for approval. * AIR Open License: The license which will apply to code developed for Smarter Balanced by the American Institutes for Research. * A memo describing the other code and content licenses to be used by Smarter Balanced.
22 Mar 2014: SmarterApp is on GitHub
SmarterApp will be using GitHub as the source code repository for all applications. As a starting point, the source to SmarterApp.org website itself has been moved to GitHub Pages using Jekyll. Take a look at the SmarterApp repository there. You can even help build enhancements to the site.
Also, you can now subscribe to SmarterApp news by Feed or Email.
10 Mar 2014: Hosting Requirements
Hosting requirements and cost calculator have been added to the Specifications page.
05 Mar 2014: SmarterApp Launch
SmarterApp.org launched. Preview editions of the SmarterApp Assessment Item Format Specification and sample encoded items from the Smarter Balanced Training Test are now available on the Specifications page.