Smarter - Balanced Assessments


In 2014-15 Oregon transitioned from the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) to the Smarter Balanced Assessment for English language arts and Mathematics. This common assessment was administered in 17 states and is designed to measure student proficiency with the Common Core State Standards.

Table of Contents

Practice Tests

The Smarter-Balanced Practice Tests are available online and represent what is expected to be the full length and rigor of the operational Smarter-Balanced Assessments.  Parents, students and teachers may all freely access these sample questions to become familiar with the structure and content of the assessments. No score is given at the completion of the practice test. 

Click here to access the Smarter-Balanced Practice Tests

News Articles

Consortium Members 

The dark blue states on the map below represent members of the Smarter-Balanced consortium.

Common Standards and Assessment Consortia Membership
by lindajurkowitz.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Development Timeline


Test Structure and Administration

Tested Grades

3rd grade through 8th grade and 11th grade.

12th Grade students are allowed to re-test.

  • English Language Arts which includes
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Listening
    • Research
  • Mathematics which includes
    • Problem-Solving
    • Communicating Reasoning
    • Modeling
    • Data Analysis
    • Concepts and Procedures
Science and Social Science continue to be offered through OAKS.
Test Window

The last 12 weeks of the school year.

Opportunities One opportunity per a year.
Composition and Delivery
  • Online - similar to OAKS (examples)
    • Selected Response (Multiple Choice)
    • Constructed Response
    • approximately 35-40 questions per subject area
  • Multi-Session Performance Task (example)
Testing Time

5 hours for English Language Arts

2.5 to 3 hours for Mathematics


Headphones (required for ELA Listening Component)

Achievement Levels

The Smarter-Balanced Consortium has released draft achievement level descriptors.  These descriptors will describe a student's score and college-readiness.

These descriptors are similar to the OAKS descriptors of Does Not Yet Meet, Meets and Exceeds.

A great evaluation of these descriptors is available from Education Week here.

The below achievement levels are Smarter Balanced definitions, but the state of Oregon has NOT adopted this language regarding Achievement Levels.  The state is currently using the numerical level only.

Level Descriptor Description of Proficiency

Thorough Command

Demonstrates thorough understandingof and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with college and career readiness

Adequate Command

Demonstrates adequate understandingof and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with college and career readiness

Partial Command

Demonstrates partial understandingof and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with college and career readiness

Partial Command means the student is below proficient for his or her grade level.


Minimal Command

Demonstrates minimal understandingof and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with college and career readiness

The results of the 2013-14 field test were used in the standard setting process to determine the Smarter Balanced scale and the thresholds for each Achievement Level Descriptor.  The tables below give information about that scale and those thresholds.

English Language Arts/Literacy Scale Scores
Grade Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
3 2367 2432 2490
4 2416 2473 2533
5 2442 2502 2582
6 2457 2531 2618
7 2479 2552 2649
8 2487 2567 2668
11 2493 2583 2682


Essential Skill

Reading Score of: 2515


Essential Skill

Writing Score of: 2583
Mathematics Scale Scores
Grade Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
3 2381 2436 2501
4 2411 2485 2549
5 2455 2528 2579
6 2473 2552 2610
7 2484 2567 2635
8 2504 2586 2653
11 2543 2628 2718


Essential Skill

Math Score of: 2543


Smarter Balanced as released their Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines.  Below is a quick summary of available supports, but this list is not comprehensive.  Some of these supports may be available only under specific scenarios and/or tests.    Click here for the Training Module, Running time: 35 minutes

Chart for demonstration purposes.  For specific uses of accommodations, please see the Oregon Accessibility Manual for current accommodations.


Supports available within the testing software


Supports not provided directly by the testing software.

Universal Tools

Available to all students based on student preference or selection



Digital Notepad

English Dictionary

English Glossary

Expandable Passages

Global Notes


Keyboard Navigation

Mark for Review

Math Tools

Spell Check

Strike through

Writing Tools



English Dictionary

Scratch Paper


Designated Supports

Available for any student for wohm a need has been identified.

Color Contrast



Translated Test Directions

Translations (Glossary)

Translations (Stacked)

Disabling Any Universal Tool

Bilingual Dictionary

Color Contrast

Color Overlay


Read Aloud


Separate Setting

Translation (Glossary)


Available only for students when document in IEP or 504 plans

American Sign Language


Closed Captioning



Alternate Response Options


Multiplication Table

Print on Demand

Read Aloud



Sample Test Items

The Smarter-Balanced Assessment Consortium has released sample test items through their website.  The items can be located at the following links.  Additional information around the development of the items, their relation to the common core, and accessibility for students can be found on the Smarter-Balanced website.

The practice and training tests can be accessed here.

Questions Use the remaining time to answer the questions below. Your answers to these questions will be scored. Also, they will help you think about the sources you’ve read and viewed, which should help you write your essay. You may click on the appropriate buttons to refer back to the sources when you think it would be helpful. You may also refer to your notes. Answer the questions in the spaces provided below them.
1. Explain what the author’s attitude is toward robot pets in the article “The Rise of the Robot Pet.” Use details from the article you read to support your answer.
2. The author of “The Rise of the Robot Pet” uses different types of evidence to support her claim about robotic pets. Identify two different types of evidence she uses and give an example of each.
3. What can people learn about robotic pets from the videos “Fugitsu’s cute teddy-bear robot shows what it can do” and “Pleo: Robot, pet, or both?” that they would not learn from “The Rise of the Robot Pet”? Support your answer with details from the videos and the article.