• Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) Tips

    Here are two websites that have good resources for preparing for the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) English Language Arts and Mathematics tests:

    • To see all the different styles of questions (multiple choice, drag and drop, and so on), go to: http://sampleitems.smarterbalanced.org/BrowseItems.
      Scroll down the page to find the high school level questions.  Each square represents a different question type.
    • For actual practice tests, go to: http://wa.portal.airast.org/training-tests/.
      You do NOT have to have a user account to get in – just click the sign in button and you can continue.  On the next page, select your grade in school and click Yes.  On the following page, choose which practice test you would like to take.


    General test taking tips for computerized testing

    • If a tutorial or explanation is available, be sure to read through it
    • If practice materials are available, make use of them before the day of the test, if possible
    • Before reading any of the questions, take a look at the total time allowed and the number of questions on the test. Figure out about how much time you can spend on each question, or at least the time at which you should be halfway finished with the test, then keep an eye on the countdown timer on the computer screen as you are working on the test.
    • After reading each question, try to predict what the answer should be. If the question uses math, calculate your own answer before looking at the answer choices.  If the answer you come up with isn’t listed in the choices, try reading the question again or checking your math for mistakes.
    • For questions that have a lot of reading, first try to find out what the question is asking you to do. This might be at the top of the page, but it also might be near the bottom of the page, just above the answer choices.  Then read the whole question, keeping in mind what you are being asked to do or to find.
    • Most computerized tests will let you flag questions that you want to come back to. Use this if you have some idea of what the answer should be but you are really not sure.  Once in a while, the information you need to be able to answer a test question shows up somewhere else in the test.  If you do use the flag feature, make sure you go back and answer the flagged questions.
    • Even if you have no idea which answer is right, choose an answer for every question. Most tests do not penalize you for wrong answers, and there is always the possibility that you could choose the right answer just by luck.