2017 Smarter Balanced Assessment Results Released with Little Variation in Achievement

September 12, 2017 

HELENA—The Office of Public Instruction released the 2017 Smarter Balanced assessment results today. Smarter Balanced is Montana’s designated state test for grades 3 through 8. 2017 scores remain nearly unchanged from last year with a fraction of a percent decrease in Math proficiency and a fraction of a percent increase in English Language Arts proficiency.

The 2017 data shows that 50.3 percent of all students tested as proficient or better in English Language Arts compared to 50.1 percent last year. In Math, 40.2 percent of all students tested as proficient or better compared to 40.8 percent last year.

Unfortunately, achievement gaps remain among Montana’s student groups. American Indian students in Montana continue to perform at levels far below the all student average. This year, only 21.4 percent of American Indian students tested as proficient or better in English Language Arts, while only 15.3 percent tested as proficient or better in Math. Montana’s ESSA state plan works to close these achievement gaps so that all Montana students can succeed.

This is the third year that Smarter Balanced has been used as Montana’s statewide exam for mandated federal reporting. This year’s results serve as an important data benchmark for student achievement as they will be the new baseline for Montana’s long-term goals in our state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

“Tests should not just be a federal mandate, but should reflect actual growth for Montana students. In Montana, all assessment data must drive meaningful results for students, parents, and local schools,” Superintendent Arntzen said Tuesday. “Math achievement is especially crucial for Montana students to be college, career, and community ready. Through our state ESSA plan we will focus on student growth in STEM and CTE fields beginning in middle school.”  

Montana’s full 2017 Smarter Balanced results can be found on the OPI’s data website, including local data:


CONTACT:   Dylan Klapmeier

                       Director of Communications, Montana Office of Public Instruction