Smarter Balanced practice tests
Teachers, parents and students in Iowa and across the country can now access new online practice tests that are aligned to common math and literacy standards adopted by Iowa and 44 other states.
The practice tests provide a preview of the types of questions that will be featured on the Smarter Balanced assessments beginning in the 2014-15 school year. The Smarter Balanced assessments are being developed by a consortium of states, including Iowa. Iowa will consider the assessments as a possible replacement for the Iowa Assessments but has not adopted them.
The practice tests follow a pilot test that has taken place in Iowa schools on a voluntary basis.
The practice tests focus on mathematics, English language arts and literacy in grades 3-8 and 11. Through them, students can experience the features of an online test and teachers and parents can gain insight into how the test will assess students’ mastery of core subjects.
The tests preview the types of questions that will be featured in the actual assessment, focusing on extended activities that challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to real-world problems. The practice tests do not include all the features of the operational assessments. For example, students and teachers will not receive reports or scores from the practice tests. The practice tests also will follow a fixed-form model, even though the Smarter Balanced assessments will be computer adaptive, meaning no two students will receive the same set of questions.
The tests were developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a multi-state effort to create a common, innovative assessment system for math and literacy that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core standards make up the backbone of the Iowa Core standards in math and literacy.
The goal of the Smarter Balanced assessments is to measure achievement and growth toward college and career readiness. The tests measure complex, higher-order skills, such as critical thinking, instead of basic skills and simple fact recall. The computer-adaptive format also will return results more quickly than a paper-pencil test.
The consortium’s work is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system aligned to high standards can provide information and tools for teachers and schools that help improve teaching and learning throughout the school year and help students succeed.
The free practice tests are available on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium website: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/practice-test/.