8 Reasons to Check Out the Updated Sample Items Website

Updates to the Smarter Balanced Sample Items Website bring a fresh look and new features that make this tool even more useful for teachers and parents. Here are eight reasons why you’ll definitely want to take a look!

1. Find items by target

This feature will probably be most useful to teachers, but we’ve added the ability to narrow down items based on its target — a specific subsection of a claim for math and English language arts/literacy. Why does it matter? Now educators can better pinpoint examples of the content that students encounter on Smarter Balanced tests.

The Target Filter is now an option from the Browse Items menu.

2. See definitions of targets in search results

Speaking of targets, it’s not always very useful to just see the target code (i.e., “Target C”) in your search results. So we’ve now added the ability to get a brief definition of that specific target so you actually know what it means. All you have to do is hover your mouse cursor over the target code (or tab to it on your keyboard) to see it.

Definition of the item target from the search results

3. View search results in a table

And speaking of search results, you can now see all items matching your criteria in a table view with sortable columns. You can still see the classic “card view” by toggling the buttons above the search results.

Toggle from card view to table view using the buttons above the search results.

4. Filter Math Items by Calculator

Not all Smarter Balanced math questions allow students to use calculators. If you’re specifically looking for an example question that does (or does not) allow calculator, this new option has you covered.

Calculator Filter is available in the Advanced Filter Section

5. Use Desmos Calculators—and learn more about them

When you go to a math item that allows calculators, you’ll now see the embedded Desmos Calculators that students use on the actual tests. We’ve also added additional information about Desmos Calculators to learn more about these open-source calculators with state-of-the-art accessibility features.

Desmos Calculators are embedded into math items by default. The “About Calculators” button activates a pop-up for more information.

6. Try out text-to-speech support

From the Accessibility Options menu, turn on text-to-speech to hear the test question read aloud to you. This feature is an accommodation available to students who need it on the operational test.

Once turned on from the Accessibility Options, the Text-to-Speech feature will read passages and questions aloud.

7. Watch item tutorials

Smarter Balanced test include many interactive items, and the Item Tutorial feature explains how the item works with a brief video.

Item Tutorial option is available from the Item Context Menu

8. Check out some new items!

This update includes new math performance tasks, which are groups of questions and activities related to the same theme or scenario. Performance tasks are one way that Smarter Balanced tests measure students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. And just like the previous version of the site, you can browse sample items by performance task, too—just select this option from the Advanced Filters.