Practice Tests and Sample Items help students and teachers understand how the test works.

Newly Released Sample Questions Can Help Support Instruction

Victoria Lee Press Releases

Practice Tests and Sample Items help students and teachers understand how the test works.

Sample items help educators and students understand how questions work.

The Smarter Balanced Sample Items Website now includes 104 newly released test questions that previously appeared on the year-end (summative) math and English language arts tests in grades 3-8 and high school.  Educators can use the sample test questions to better understand how Smarter Balanced measures college and career ready content and what students need to know and do.

The newly released questions add to the nearly 500 questions that already appear on the Sample Items Website. The questions feature the full suite of accessibility resources, including translations and an illustration glossary in math to support English language learners.

Another exciting addition to the Sample Items Website is student writing samples for performance tasks. The writing samples include explanations to help teachers better understand how the papers were scored.

In late February, the Sample Items Website will support printing of the released test questions. Additional enhancements will be available in late spring.

How to Access the Newly Released Questions

To locate the 104 newly released test questions, please see the handy interactive dropdown list on our Website or our handout that lists all the newly released questions by grade, subject, and question ID.


Check Out New Samples for 2019-20. Select a subject and grade for a list of test items—with links—recently added to the Sample Items Website.

You can click on the question IDs directly or input them into the Sample Items Website search filter.


Enter Item ID field

How We Ensure High-Quality Test Questions

Every year, educators collaborate to create the questions that appear on Smarter Balanced tests.
“Once (the questions) are written, having multiple people look at them and bear in mind the accessibility issues, bias and sensitivity, alignment to the standards. It’s a whole group that does this. It’s not just one person’s opinion,” said Ellen Irish, an elementary school teacher from Oregon.

Teachers then review each question. This ensures that the questions are fair and accurately measure what students know and can do.

“The most important piece to me is that we read the question and make sure that it is clear for the students, concise (not too wordy), and accurate,” said Dina Haney, an elementary school teacher from California. “We want to make sure there is no bias. We want to make sure that it’s accessible to all students.”

For more info, visit Sample Items Website.

For a look at how items are written and reviewed by educators from Smarter Balanced member states, watch the video!