About Us
Request a demoSupport

Are your students ready for the Smarter Balanced assessment?

By Lindsay Haas, PhD, Research Analyst

In recent years, we’ve entered a new era of education—one that leverages data, insight, and, yes, testing to understand what learning looks like for every student and to meet new state standards. One of the new exams is the summative assessment from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Developed with a $176 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, this test is aimed at transforming testing with newly innovative ways to evaluate deeper levels of understanding. Implemented in 18 states to date, educators and students across the country took the SBAC test for the first time during the 2014–2015 school year.

To better understand how Renaissance Star 360®’s testing platform maps to this summative exam, we conducted a study exploring the relationship between Star assessments and the SBAC test. What we found confirmed that

The study was conducted using performance data from the 2014–2015 school year with over 50,000 students from four states (CA, OR, WA, and CT). Correlations between the two tests were very high, well above the industry standard threshold for measurement, indicating a strong relationship. Other analyses in the study revealed high levels of predictive accuracy.

Because Star is built on a growth-oriented learning progression model, educators have access to a wealth of data that charts each student’s cumulative growth onto education standards at dozens of touch points throughout the year. Statistically linked to almost every state test in America, Star as a progressive interim assessment tool can support millions of students and teachers in helping students make progress to the height of their potential.

Renaissance Star Reading® and Renaissance Star Math® have already proven to be effective in charting standards mastery and learning path, and now they’ve been validated as indicators of readiness for the SBAC test. As these core education products continue to get smarter and more optimized, Renaissance will continue to support teaching in every moment and helping students reach their fullest potential each year.

Lindsay Haas, PhD., Research Analyst
Lindsay Haas, PhD., Research Analyst
Lindsay Haas, Ph.D., joined the Research Department in 2010. Her work includes collaborating with external experts on studies and using Renaissance’s extensive database to conduct internal analyses. She holds a BA from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


  1. Katrina Valdez says:

    This article doesn’t explain how we, the user, can see the correlation between STAR and SBAC test. Are we supposed to be looking at the Scaled Score in STAR? If so, what is the correlation? I need more specifics so I can actually point my teachers to the correct report so they can see which of their kids are in danger of not passing the SBAC test.

  2. Lindsay Haas, PhD., Research Analyst Lindsay Haas says:

    Great question, Katrina. Conducting this linking study was the first step. Our engineers are working now on the second step, which will bring SBAC test reporting functionality to STAR. This will include new state benchmarks for states administering the SBAC test as well as a State Performance Report to forecast student proficiency on the SBAC. Watch for these updates to STAR Reading and STAR Math in early December.

  3. Angie Stone says:

    We are in a K-6 school. Our 1st grade teachers are wondering when and how often they should administer the STAR – the administration wants it once a month like the 2-6th graders. We do also have some Spanish STAR takers. Thanks for your input.

  4. Lindsay Haas, PhD., Research Analyst Lindsay Haas says:

    Frequency of STAR testing can vary depending on the testing purpose and other factors. Some states recommend or require more frequent progress monitoring beyond tier 2 in a Response to Intervention (RTI) framework. Educators should be aware of their state guidelines and follow state policy. We have provided a couple of guidance documents (here and here) to help educators navigate this question and determine a testing schedule that works for them. Be sure to call our Customer Assistance line at (800) 338-4204 if you’d like additional help.

  5. […] Are you ready for the Smarter Balanced Assessment? Educators with data to forecast proficiency on summative assessments are better equipped to help students achieve their full potential. A new study confirms Renaissance Learning’s quick, computer-adaptive STAR assessments are a strong predictor of SBAC test performance. The study validates their effectiveness as indicators of readiness for SBAC. Learn more. […]

Select your school

Searching for schools in ZIP code ---

Loading schools…

Don't see your school?