SBAC – Practice and Pilot Testing

Last month this blog provided some basic background information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s 2015 Common Core assessment that will be given in North Dakota.  This upcoming school year, we will continue to receive additional information about what this test will look like, when it will be given, and how it will be scored.

SBAC Practice Tests

SBAC has released practice tests.  The intent of these online tests is to introduce schools, teachers, and even students to the question format of the 2015 assessment.

The practice tests can be accessed at no cost and anonymously.  To access the practice tests:

Go to

  1. Click the [Sign In] button to sign in anonymously.
  2. Select the grade level you wish to access from the drop-down box.  Click YES.
  3. Select one of the four listed tests.
  4. Follow the prompts to begin the test.

SBAC Pilot Tests

During the spring of 2014, the state will be piloting the early version of the SBAC assessment across the state.  The goal is to have 5000 students pilot the ELA and another 5000 students pilot the Math assessments.  Districts will be contacted in the Fall of 2013 about participating in the pilot.  It has not yet been determined whether any Bismarck schools will be participating in the pilot, but all schools have been invited to volunteer.   Conditions for volunteering are:

  • Participation is by school grade level.  In other words, for a school wishing to volunteer, an entire grade level must participate in order for the school to be considered for the pilot.
  • Schools can request to pilot test in Math, ELA, or both subjects.  The total time commitment is approximately 3.5 hours for each subject tested.
  • The pilot testing will be computer based (Ubuntu netbooks should work for testing).
  • The teachers administering the pilot tests will need to complete proctor training (~January 2014)
  • Pilot testing will be completed in March and April, 2014.
  • There will be no data results provided to schools.

The North Dakota pilot testing is part of a nationwide SBAC pilot test.  The other 22 member states will also be participating in this pilot.  An anticipated outcome of the pilot testing would be to establish early norms prior to the Spring 2015 assessment.

Test Components

In the prior blog I outlined the four tests that each student will take in grades 3-8, and in grade 11.  It is likely that the pilot testing will follow the intended format and timeline of these four tests.  The four tests consist of:

Two Performance Based Assessments (PBA) to be given in March/early April timeframe-

  • ELA PBA.   For this assessment, each student will receive a prompt that asks them to respond, but prior to responding they would need to perform some research and draft out their response.  The time limit for this test would be long enough to complete this task – up to an hour or more at some grade levels.
  • Math PBA.  Similar to the ELA PBA, this assessment would present each student with a prompt that they would need to work on independently prior to entering their response.

Two Summative assessments to be given in late April/May timeframe-

  • ELA Summative.  The ELA summative will be a multiple choice format.  It will also be adaptive within the student grade level.
  • Math Summative.  The math summative will also be multiple choice format and adaptive within a grade level.

The current information regarding test times predicts that the total combined time for the math and ELA PBA will be approximately four hours.  The combined test time for the two summative tests will be approximately three hours.  So we can expect the total test time for each student to be approximately seven hours, split among four test sessions.


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