The Smarter Balanced Common Core Mathematics Tests Are Fatally Flawed and Should Not Be Used

An In-Depth Critique by Steven Rasmussen, SR Education Associates, March 2015

In the spring of 2015, tests developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium were administered to well over 10 million students in 17 states to determine their proficiency on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). In our analysis of the mathematics test questions posted online by Smarter Balanced we revealed that, in question after question, the tests:

  • Violated the standards they are supposed to assess;
  • Could not be adequately answered by students with the technology they are required to use;
  • Used confusing and hard-to-use interfaces; or
  • Were graded in such a way that incorrect answers are identified as correct and correct answers as incorrect.

We concluded that no tests that  so flawed should be given to anyone. Certainly, with stakes so high for students and their teachers, these Smarter Balanced tests should not be administered. The boycotts of these tests by parents and some school districts are justified. We urged responsible government bodies to withdraw the tests from use before they did damage.

In 2017 these tests will be given again–just as they were in 2016.  The tests have not changed.  What we reported in 2015 is equally applicable to the 2017 and 2016 tests.  Read the full report…

Recent Blog Posts

Smarter Balanced Tests—One Year Later, Same Shameful Tests

In March 2015, SR Education Associates released a scathing report of the quality of the Smarter Balanced tests for mathematics used by 17 states to measure student proficiency with respect to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.  We found that the quality of the tests was so bad that they should have been removed […]

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Standardized Testing (HBO)

A fantastic segment from this week’s show. A must watch! Here is the link:

Suggestions for NCTM Regarding High-Stakes Testing and CCSSM

This week I have rerun my ad promoting my critique of the Smarter Balanced tests for mathematics in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) electronic publication, Summing Up. Hopefully, friends and colleagues in the NCTM community who find my critique will also take the time to read my blog. This post and the […]

Testimonial: Jerry Zajac, Mathematics Instructor, Milford, CT

Thank you for bringing numerous items to the surface in your report. The system is “broken” and the Smarter Balanced test does not do it any justice as I feel it does not test for understanding. Technologically compromised as well as discrepancies from the standards seem to be what $72 million dollars have brought us. I’m sure we could all go on and continually add to what has been brought out. I just hope the profession itself doesn’t get destroyed in the process.

— Jerry Zajac, Math Instructor, Milford, CT

Download the Full Report Read the Summary by EdSurge

To get a PDF of this report, click the Full Report button above to open the file and then download the PDF from your viewer. Please share it with your colleagues and friends.

Travel, Learn, Help


Among other projects, Steve is an active Board member with Teachers2Teachers-Gobal, an organization creating partnerships between teachers and education professionals in the U.S. and teachers abroad. Join T2T-G on one of their trips to work with schools, teachers and students in Guatemala or Ecuador!

Learn More About T2T-G


Show Buttons
Hide Buttons