Sonoma County Office of Education

Data & Assessment

SBAC Practice Tests & Sample Items

Practice tests simulate what it’s like to take the SBAC, giving educators, students, and parents an early look at assessment questions that are aligned to the Common Core. Sample test items have also been developed. For more information, access this archived webcast on how to use the practice and training tests.

The California Department of Education has provided a matrix of Smarter Balanced Question Types. The matrix offers examples of question types that students may encounter on the Smarter Balanced test.

Simulated Exam Environments

Student Training & Practice Tests
This link provides access to the CAASPP Practice and Training Test Portal offering access to two different options that simulate the SBAC assessment. The first option is a “Training Test.” It was developed in Feb 2014 so students could become familiar with the testing software and interface. The Training Tests are in grade bands and do not include performance tasks. Universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations are included.

The second option is a “Practice Test.” This set of examples was updated in May 2014 and offers grade-specific testing experiences similar to the SBAC. One English-language arts and one math performance task is included per grade level. Some, but not all, supports and accommodations are included.

Test Administrator Practice/Training Test Tutorial Video
This YouTube video from the Palo Alto Unified School District can be used to help teach test administrators how to administer practice and training tests with students.

Practice Test Scoring Guides
ELA and mathematics grade level guides are offered for the 2013 and 2014 Practice Tests. Questions and scoring criteria are provided in PDF documents.

Using Practice Tests

SCOE encourages individuals and groups to examine the SBAC simulated exam environments. Districts should look for opportunities to share with trustees, leadership teams, faculty groups, parents, school site councils, and community stakeholder groups. Students should also be given opportunities to explore the assessment tasks. Some districts are creating road maps for integrating the Common Core and SBAC assessments into five-year planning documents.

Suggestions for using the practice tests:

  • View test items for ideas on how to create similar items for use with students so they are comfortable working online.
  • Take a practice test to experience the features of online testing and gain insight into how Smarter Balanced will assess students’ mastery of the Common Core.
  • Using an LCD projector, do short overviews of questions. Demonstrate operations and universal access features. Discuss response options and model metacognitive processes.
  • Look at assessment items to help inform common formative assessments in a district/school.

Sample Test Items

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium worked with the state of Missouri to release sample items that teachers and districts can use as part of their preparation in the transition to SBAC related assessments.

English Language Arts
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8
Grade 9
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8
High School


Access these resources to gain greater understanding of the SBAC tests and how they are different from the STAR testing program.

Looking Back at STAR Questions
California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) assessments evaluated student knowledge and mastery based on 1997 California Standards. Students in grades 2-11 were assessed every spring in various content areas. Sample test items for English Language Arts and Math can be seen from this link.

Innovative Item Types
This website provides a taxonomy of innovative item types that might be found in computer-delivered assessments.


  • Rick Phelan, Director, Technology for Learners
    (707) 524-2847,