Smarter Balanced releases sample assessment items, performance tasks

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium recently released a set of sample assessment items and performance tasks in English language arts/literacy and mathematics to help teachers, administrators and policymakers better understand the Common Core State Standards and prepare for the implementation of the Smarter Balanced assessments.

The sample items and tasks provide an advance look at the types of questions students will encounter when the assessments are implemented in the 2014-15 school year. Samples include nearly 50 assessment items and performance tasks, including examples of innovative, technology-enhanced items that take advantage of computer-based administration to assess a deeper understanding of content and skills than would otherwise be possible with traditional item types. In addition, sample performance tasks showcase the extended classroom-based activities students will experience as part of the assessment system.

These items and tasks represent just a small fraction of the more than 10,000 items and tasks being written to support the pilot test in early 2013. In addition, the Smarter Balanced sample items are displayed in a simulated test platform that does not include accessibility tools and accommodations options that will be available through the operational assessment system—such as Braille, translation options, and the ability to change font size, highlight text or magnify portions of items.

The sample items and performance tasks can be accessed from the Smarter Balanced website at


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