Parents » Smarter Balanced Assessment

Smarter Balanced Assessment

Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium



Perhaps you have heard of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or its acronym SBAC referred to, but didn’t know what it was.  Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, along with all districts in CA and most other states, will administer the SBAC spring tests to all students in grades 3-5. Learn the what, who, when, where and why of SBAC.


WHAT: The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a state-led consortium working to develop assessments that measure student progress toward college and career readiness.  Aligned to Common Core State Standards, the SBAC will allow students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do, and whether they are on track to graduate high school and ready for opportunities at college or in the workplace. Students are tested in English language arts/literacy and math. Assessments are administered as computer adaptive test items and performance tasks.


The English language arts/literacy tests will assess reading, writing, listening and research. Students will be asked to:

  • Read and comprehend a range of increasingly complex literary and informational texts.
  • Produce effective and well-grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences.
  • Employ effective listening skills.
  • Engage in research and inquiry to investigate topics, analyze, integrate and present information.


The mathematics tests will assess students’ conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, as well as application of math to solve problems.  Students will be asked to:

  • Explain and apply mathematical concepts, and interpret and carry out mathematical procedures.
  • Solve a range of complex problems, making use of mathematical knowledge and problem solving strategies.
  • Clearly construct arguments to support their reasoning and critique reasoning of others.
  • Analyze complex, real-world scenarios, and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems.


WHO: Students in grades 3-5, 6-8, and 11 will be tested.


WHEN: 2014-2015 will be the first full year of implementation of SBAC.  In 2013-2014, MPUSD administered a successful field test.  MPUSD schools will prepare students to participate in the full assessment. Most MPUSD students will test between April 13 – May 15, 2015. Your students’ teacher will be sending out communications indicating their specific test dates.


WHERE:  Most Marshall students will be taking this assessment in our computer lab.


WHY: Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a balanced, high-quality assessment system- including formative, interim, and summative components- can improve teaching and learning by providing information and tools for teachers and schools to help students succeed. If students are falling behind, teachers can provide more support; if students are excelling, this information will help teachers provide more challenge. Smarter Balanced is designed to get students the help they need and the advancement they’ve earned.  SBAC is a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and careers.


TIPS to Prepare for the SBAC:

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep during the SBAC testing.
  • Eat a hearty breakfast each morning of SBAC testing.
  • Arrive to school on time.
  • Plan appointments and absences outside of the SBAC testing window.
  • Practice keyboarding and build reading endurance.
  • Remain calm and answer the SBAC questions to the best of your ability.
  • Carve out some time after school to focus on something other than school work and the SBAC.


Please visit the California Department of Education for further information.

Click here for Practice Tests.