3 Tools to Help You Learn More About the Test

With summative testing season approaching, educators can use Smarter Balanced’s system of tools to better understand how Smarter Balanced tests measure student progress toward college and career readiness in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and math.

1. Smarter Content Explorer

Smarter Content Explorer provides educators access to Smarter Balanced test design and development information, including summative and interim test blueprints that describe the content of the English language arts/literacy and math tests. Learn about how test questions are structured and scored and download accessibility guidelines!

Additionally, Smarter Content Explorer users can search the content covered by the assessments to better understand the claims, targets, and standards assessed by Smarter Balanced tests and dive deep into grade-level expectations. Interested in learning more? Check out this video that introduces Smarter Content Explorer.

2. Sample Items Website

Teachers can use the Sample Items Website to find examples of test questions (also called test items) used on Smarter Balanced ELA and math  assessments. 

Educators can use items found on the Sample Items Website in a variety of ways. Similar to how educators might use items on the interim assessments flexibly, educators can use sample items as an “in the moment” learning opportunity by administering individual items or a set of items as a quick check to elicit evidence of what students know, using mini whiteboards or sticky notes

Browse Test Items

The Sample Items Website includes hundreds of items across grades and subject areas. Users can browse test items easily for grades 3-8 and high school by subject, claims, targets, and content standards.

Use sample items to:

  • read about the types of items used on Smarter Balanced assessments,
  • search for test items based on grade, subject, or item type,
  • find additional details about the content that items measure, and
  • use the full breadth of accessibility features used on Smarter Balanced assessments.
Item Type: Hot Text

About Test Items

Educators can better understand question formats and how questions measure what students know and can do by exploring a variety of item types on the About Test Items page. 

For example, “Hot Text” is an item type that includes words or phrases that students can either select (highlight) by clicking or rearrange by clicking and dragging, and measures language and vocabulary use. 

3. State Practice and Training Tests

Your students can learn how the tests work and what kind of questions are included on them by using your state’s practice and training tests. Online practice tests can help your students become familiar with the accessibility resources available on the test. They can also help familiarize students with how to navigate it. 

When used together, Smarter Content Explorer, Sample Items Website and your state’s practice and training tests can help you better understand summative tests in your state and what students need to know to meet academic standards! 

For more information on Smarter Balanced summative assessments, check out the Tools for Teachers professional learning resource “Understanding the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment.”