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Professional Development

Building Educator Assessment Literacy (BEAL): Making the Most of Smarter Balanced Performance Tasks to Improve Teaching and Learning

Teachers and school and district administrators: Learn to effectively use Smarter Balanced performance tasks during classroom instruction and improve student learning outcomes. Participate in our Building Educator Assessment Literacy Workshop.

Contact Us About This Service

What You Will Learn

  • Learn about Smarter Balanced assessment performance tasks, how they can be used formatively in the classroom to assess college and career readiness, and where they fit into the curriculum, instruction, and assessment cycle
  • Use Smarter Balanced scoring tools and processes to analyze student work and develop a deeper understanding of the performance tasks, the instructional shifts required by college and career-ready standards, and the implications for instruction
  • Acquire effective teaching strategies so all students learn the skills and content necessary to gain mastery of college and career-ready standards and to demonstrate that mastery on classroom work as well as the Smarter Balanced performance tasks

Educators who participate in an additional training-of-trainers event will be supported as they prepare to deliver the training to educators in their own districts and schools.

Who Will Benefit

  • K-12 Classroom Teachers
  • Teacher Trainers and Instructional Coaches
  • District-Level Curriculum, Professional Development, and Assessment Coordinators
  • State-Level Curriculum, Professional Development, and Assessment Leaders

Service Details

WestEd and our partner, the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE), have designed face-to-face workshops for educators in Smarter Balanced states. This two-day workshop, or two-and-a-half-day train-the-trainer workshop, provides opportunities for participants to learn about Smarter Balanced assessments and how they align with the college and career-ready standards.

We offer BEAL professional learning in three workshop formats to suit your needs:

  • Two-Day Workshop on-site
  • Two-and-a-Half-Day Workshop on-site, for those who will be training other educators
  • Customized Workshop to meet the needs of a state or district
  • Customized Workshop, addressing the standards and assessments in non–Smarter Balanced member states

During a BEAL workshop, you will:

  • Work with released performance tasks and rubrics from the Smarter Balanced assessments
  • Review authentic student responses to score and discuss
  • Learn about and experience the importance of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Participate in breakout groups for English language arts/literacy and mathematics at elementary and secondary school grade bands
  • Receive materials in print and electronic formats

Workshop participants who will be training others will also receive full presenter materials including PowerPoint slides, handout books, and detailed facilitators’ guides.

What Makes This Service Unique

BEAL Workshops are facilitated by experienced professional development providers with a deep knowledge of assessment design, college and career- ready standards, and teaching and learning.

Each workshop features authentic, released performance tasks and rubrics from the Smarter Balanced assessments. Participants work individually and in small groups throughout the training to:

  • Analyze the standards on which the performance tasks are based
  • Evaluate how the scoring rubrics measure performance against those standards
  • Score sample student responses
  • Discuss the implications for classroom instruction, based on different levels of performance

The efforts of WestEd’s assessment literacy team are informed by seminal research from the National Research Council (1999, 2001, 2003), Linda Darling-Hammond (2010, 2012, 2013), and the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (2009). These resources provide the research-supported foundation for WestEd’s customized professional development services and training materials, which are intended to enable deeper understanding of the characteristics of high-quality assessments that are used for different purposes. Services and materials also help foster local initiatives to design effective tests and performance measures.

Clients participating in BEAL workshops report increased confidence in the use of results from performance assessments and in their educators’ ability to provide effective standards-based instruction.


Pricing for the workshop varies based on the scope of work, the unique needs of the client, and breadth of services.

Learn More

For more information about BEAL, please call 415.615.3220, or email