The highlighter is a universal tool available on interims, the summative test, and sample tests.

Five Built-in Test Tools Students Should Know (and Use!)

Renee Basick Features

Familiarizing Students with Universal Test Tools Can Yield Confidence Boost

Smarter Balanced digitally-delivered assessments (interims, the summative test, and practice tests) include a wide array of embedded universal test tools. These are available to students as part of the technology platform. Students gain confidence with the testing software when they understand how to use these test tools and when they can be most useful. Using practice tests and/or administering interims, and coaching students on the built-in test tools, are a great way to help them gain familiarity. Here are some tips on using five of these universal test tools:

Practice Test
Use your state’s Practice Test to familiarize students with test tools. Your state-specific Practice Test ensures the test environment matches the interim and summative tests your students take!

Find your state’s practice test.



How to access Universal Test Tools
At the top right corner of every test question (on interims, the summative test, and most practice tests) is a “hamburger” menu (it looks like three stacked horizontal lines) that provides quick access to the universal test tools available. When you click on this menu, the list will drop down.


The highlighter is a universal test tool available on interim assessments, the summative test, and practice tests.

The highlighter is a universal test tool available on interims, the summative test, and practice tests.

What it is: Like a physical highlighter pen, allows students to mark text.

When to use it: Useful for reading passages and marking key ideas. Can be used to place markers that help to quickly find specific words, phrases, or sentences when referring back to the passage. Time-saver!