Smarter Balanced Professional Development Resources

  • This page is intended to provide LAUSD personnel with some resources to design professional development for teachers to make data-based curricular and instructional decisions from the Smarter Balanced assessment results. Division of Instruction staff will be regularly adding and revising the content of this page in order to provide the most up-to-date resources. Additional resources for professional development planning can be found at these links:

    If you have feedback on any of these professional development resources, please contact Derrick Chau, Ph.D., Director of Secondary Instruction ( or Katie McGrath, Director of Elementary Instruction (
    At the September 2 Mandatory Secondary Principals' Organization meeting, this presentation was given to provide an overview of the resources available from the district and to briefly describe some recommendations for school professional development approaches.
    At the September 10 Mandatory Assistant Principals' Organization meeting, this presentation was given.
    If you are seeking resources for communicating general information about the SBAC assessments with the public, parents, and students, please go to the following LAUSD Data and Accountability website.
    Overall Guidance
    As schools transition to utilizing the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, it is critical to recognize that this system is a paradigm shift away from the previous California Standards Tests. The diagram below shows the three components of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System that include the summative assessments, the interim assessments and the digital library. The Smarter Balanced bar on the bottom of the picture shows that in the 2015-16 school year, we are only beginning our third year of implementing this new assessment system. 
    Smarter Balanced Assessment System
    The Smarter Balanced summative assessments do not provide granular data that is directly aligned with content strands. This is why the interim assessments and the digital library are critical to improving student performance overall. The expectation is that school teams will engage in cycles of collaborative inquiry utilizing the digital library and the interim assessments to improve instructional practices based on student in-class performance on teacher/department-developed assessments aligned with the Smarter Balanced rubrics. School teams should develop collaborative cultures based on the instructional leadership teams, professional learning communities and lesson study literature. 
    How and How Not to Prepare Students for the New Tests - Shanahan describes how the old paradigm of item analysis and data-driven instruction is not the approach needed for student success on the new Smarter Balanced assessments and that teachers should focus on teaching students disciplinary literacy skills.
    The Power of Professional Capital - Hargreaves and Fullan focus on the importance of teacher collaboration to describe the importance of human capital, social capital and decisional capital in fostering professional capital.
    Instructional Leadership Teams: Leading the Way to Successful Common Core State Standards Implementation - This brief from the Aspen Institute describes the importance and roles of effective instructional leadership teams in fostering collaborative decision-making about instruction. For a more extensive list of resources on ILTs, see this link.
    Sample Data Analysis Protocols
    Sample Data Analysis Protocol - This sample data analysis protocol from WestEd provides an overview of the steps schools may take to interpret the Smarter Balanced summative assessment results and to determine next steps for instruction.
    ATLAS Protocol - This protocol from the National School Reform Faculty provides a structure for how teams may approach developing collaborative inquiry questions.