A Look at Sample Next Generation Assessment Items

Sample Items and Performance Tasks

The sample items and performance tasks are intended to help teachers, administrators, and policymakers implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and preparing for next-generation assessments. They provide an early look into the depth of understanding of the CCSS that will be measured by the Smarter Balanced assessment system. While the items and tasks are not intended to be used as sample tests, educators can use them to begin planning the shifts in instruction that will be required to help students meet the demands of the new assessments.

The sample items and tasks can be viewed by grade band (grades 3-5, 6-8, and high school) or content focus. They showcase the variety of item types—including technology-enhanced items and performance tasks—that will be included in the Smarter Balanced assessment system. In addition, items illustrating the connections across grades within the CCSS—as well as the range of student achievement within a computer adaptive test—are also available. Most constructed-response and technology-enhanced items can be scored automatically, and many items include downloadable scoring rubrics.

The sample English language arts/literacy items and performance tasks include a mixture of published and commissioned reading passages and sources. Smarter Balanced has not obtained permission to reprint copyrighted passages and source documents referenced in the sample items. As a result, several items and performance tasks—Planes on the Brain 1-3, Animal Defenses, and Garden—include only the citations for copyrighted material, rather than the complete text. For the operational assessment in the 2014-15 school year, Smarter Balanced intends to use primarily published passages—reflecting the emphasis in the Common Core on exposure to “high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts”—and the full text of these passages will be available to students.

It is important to note that these samples represent only a small fraction of the more than 10,000 items and tasks currently in development to support the Pilot Test in early 2013. In addition, the samples are displayed using a simulated test platform that does not include accessibility tools and accommodation options that will be available when the assessments are administered to students—such as Braille, translation options, highlighter tools, and the ability to change font size or magnify portions of items.

Explore sample items and performance tasks: