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Sample QuestionsBelow you will find sample questions and answers for some of the major topics on the Smarter Balanced Assessments, including questions that may appear on the English Language Arts test and the Mathematics test.
SBAC ELA for 3rd GradeFor most CAT questions on the ELA test, students are first presented with a stimulus text. They are then presented with a question or a series of questions that use the text as a foundation. The following question is an example of a CAT question that may appear on the SBAC ELA at the 3rd grade level:
Read the paragraph and complete the task that follows.
Without homework, students would not take their studies seriously. Children do not enjoy homework. Although homework may take a few hours of free time, it is important that children complete it. They would rather be talking and playing with friends than sitting to work on more schoolwork. However, homework is important because it allows students to review material at home.
Rewrite the paragraph by organizing it correctly and adding ideas that support the opinion that is given.
A well written answer looks as follows:
Children do not enjoy homework. Homework becomes a burden in their eyes because they want to just come home and escape from schoolwork. They would rather be talking and playing with friends than sitting to work on more schoolwork. However, homework is important because it allows students to review material at home. Homework also helps students who may have missed some material during school hours so that no one falls behind. Without homework, students would not take their studies seriously and students would probably stop paying attention to the teacher during class hours. Although homework may take a few hours of free time, it is important that children complete it so that they are staying on track and learning to their highest potential.
Well-written answers should include opinions about why children prefer not to do homework as well as why homework is important. Scores range between 0 and 3.
Scoring the Answers:
A paragraph scoring a high of 3 will include the following criteria:
- content demonstrates that the student has a proper grasp of the text
- student adheres to the main request of the task and delivers relevant evidence to support the main ideas of the text
- responses are well-organized and clearly address purpose, audience, and task
- includes various types of sentence structures and writing conventions
SBAC ELA for 7th GradeThe following text is an example of a passage given at the 7th grade level of the ELA SBACs. Questions based on the text follow.
Whether King Arthur ever really existed or was created by poetic imagination is still debated by historians. The foundations for the legends of Arthur were laid by Geoffrey of Monmouth from Wales in his work History of the Kings of Britain, completed around 1138 CE. Geoffrey claimed to have obtained an ancient Celtic manuscript on which he based his work. History of the Kings of Britain became massively popular, with 215 copies still in existence today. In the several decades following its publication, it had kindled the imagination of novelists throughout Europe. Some of these writers added new elements to the canon, which later became inseparable parts of it. For instance, the Round Table was added to the tale in 1155 by French poet Maistre Wace. French writer Chretien de Troyes originated the chivalrous character of Lancelot and added five stories to the narrative, in which the knights rescued damsels in distress and fought against strange beasts. Another Frenchman, Robert de Boron, added the theme of the quest for the Holy Grail, the search for a lost treasure believed to cure all ailments.
In 1485, Sir Thomas Malory wrote Le Morte D'Arthur, an anthology of eight stories compiling the chronicles of King Arthur. Malory's version, which sets the events in the Middle Ages, is the best-known work of Arthurian literature. Interestingly, each author that wrote about King Arthur located him in his own time, so that the development of the saga reveals more about the eras in which the writers lived than Arthur's alleged time period. This relates to the popularity of Arthur's tale, which was first published around the Viking and Norman invasions of England. The region was subject to attacks and settlement by conquerors, similar to what it had undergone by the Saxons centuries earlier during King Arthur's reign. Time was ripe for tales of a great leader who could defeat invaders and protect his people.
So, what is true? Establishing the facts is virtually impossible. History of the Kings of Britain was written 600 years after the purported events. The Celtic source of Geoffrey's work has never been found. Studying old manuscripts, we encounter various spellings of names and locations, making it difficult to draw parallels. And so, both the hopeful historians and the skeptics can find support to their claims.
1. An appropriate title for this passage is:
A. Who was Right: Geoffrey of Monmouth or Maistre Wace?
B. How King Arthur’s Saga Came to Be
C. The Surprising French Angle of King Arthur’s Tale
D. King Arthur: Historical Figure or Legend?
2. The quest for the Holy Grail is mentioned as an example of:
A. the many elements of Arthur’s story added by different writers.
B. the French contribution to the Arthurian tales.
C. a religious strand added to the story of Arthur, as opposed to the round table.
D. a search for a lost treasure believed to cure all ailments.
Answers and Explanations:
1. The correct answer is (D).
Answer (D) is the best answer because this idea appears both in the opening and closing paragraphs of the passage, with the middle paragraphs discussing the development of Arthur’s story.
Answer (A) is incorrect because there is no discussion in the passage as to whether Geoffrey of Monmouth or Maistre Wace were right, and no comparison is made between the two.
Answer (B) is incorrect because while the middle paragraphs tell us how the story came to be, the beginning and end of the passage anchor the information in the question of the validity of Arthur’s story: "Whether King Arthur ever really existed or was created by poetic imagination is still debated by historians," and "So, what is true? Establishing the facts is virtually impossible."
Answer (C) is incorrect because the passage does not present the French contribution to the tale as surprising.
2. The correct answer is (A).
Answer (A) is the best answer because the paragraph begins with the sentence, "Some of these writers added new elements to the canon, which later became inseparable parts of it," and then lists several such elements, among which is the quest of the Holy Grail.
Answer (B) is incorrect because the paragraph does not attribute special importance to the fact that the contributors to the story were French. In fact, the last sentence of the previous paragraph speaks of "novelists throughout Europe."
Answer (C) is incorrect because there is no mention of religion in the text.
Answer (D) is incorrect because a "search for a lost treasure believed to cure all ailments," describes only the quest of the Holy Grail and not the other elements mentioned in the paragraph.
Math for 4th Grade The following question is an example of a 4th grade level math question from the CAT section of the SBAC test:
Which number is both a factor of 90 and a multiple of 3?
The correct answer is (C), 30.
Answer (A) did not consider the criterion of the number being a “multiple of 3.”
Answer (B) did not consider the criterion of the number being a “factor of 90.”
Answer (C) is both a factor of 90 (90÷ 30 = 3) and a multiple of 3 (3 X 10 = 30)
Answer (D) is the product of 90 and 3, and therefore it is not a factor of 90.
Therefore, the correct answer is (C), 30.
Math for 11th Grade The following question is an example of a CAT question that may appear on an 11th grade level SBAC Mathematics test:
Consider the function
f(x) = x2 – 3x – 10
Which of the numbers on the chart are zeros of the function? Select Yes or No in each row.
is this a zero of the function?
is this a zero of the function?
The zeros of a function are the values of x for which the function equals 0. When factoring the given function, f(x) = x2 – 3x – 10, f(x) = (x + 2) (x – 5) is obtained. When searching for the zero of the function, (x + 2) (x – 5) = 0 is set. To satisfy this equation, either (x + 2) or (x – 5) equals 0. Therefore, to get all the possible values of x, both must be set to equal zero. From x + 2 = 0, the answer x = -2 is obtained. From x – 5 = 0, the answer x = 5 is obtained. Therefore, the two correct answers are 5 and -2.
Scoring the Answer:
A full two-point score is given when all four boxes are checked off as seen above.
For partial credit (one point), the student must correctly check at least three boxes.
What Are the SBAC Tests?The SBAC tests are year-end tasks that track how students are progressing toward their academic goals. The main objective of these tests is to prepare students for their future college and career paths and to gauge their readiness toward this goal. The SBAC tests are administered to grades 3–8, with additional testing in 11th grade for college application use. The SBAC assesses students' mastery of English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics using two methods: a performance task (PT) and a computer adaptive test (CAT).
SBAC ELA Test The ELA test assesses student knowledge in alignment with the Common Core State Standards for language arts and literacy. Students' ability is tracked through four predetermined content claims. These evaluate whether students can (1) Read Analytically, (2) Write Effectively, (3) Listen Purposefully, and (4) Conduct Research. For more information about the SBAC ELA test, visit our SBAC ELA page.
SBAC Mathematics TestLike the ELA test, the SBAC Mathematics test utilizes a CAT and a PT testing method. The CAT section of the test is comprised of questions using various multiple choice questions, or constructed response questions, while the performance task is given as a separate test section that requires students to solve a multi-step math problem. For more information about the SBAC Math test and all that it entails, visit our SBAC Math page.
Practice for the SBACsTo succeed on the SBACs, it is important to set aside time and practice. With the help of TestPrep-Online, your child can prepare with practice tests designed to ensure his or her success on test day. Check out our SBAC Practice page to learn more about how your child can excel through SBAC testing.