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Smarter Balanced / CAASPP

Item and Task Types

Excerpt from the Sample Items and Performance Tasks  page of the Smarter Balanced website:


The Smarter Balanced assessment system includes a variety of item types. The response formats included in the sample items will be updated based on findings from cognitive labs and small scale trials being conducted this fall, as well as additional information gathered during pilot testing in early 2013.

  • Selected-response items prompt students to select one or more responses for a set of options.


  • Technology-enhanced items take advantage of computer-based administration to assess a deeper understanding of content and skills than would otherwise be possible with traditional item types. Technology-enhanced items capitalize on technology to collect evidence through a non-traditional response type, such as editing text or drawing an object. Selected-response and technology-enhanced items can be scored automatically.


  • Constructed-response items prompt students to produce a text or numerical response in order to collect evidence about their knowledge or understanding of a given assessment target.


  • Performance tasks measure a student’s ability to integrate knowledge and skills across multiple standards—a key component of college and career readiness. Performance tasks will be used to better measure capacities such as depth of understanding, research skills, and complex analysis, which cannot be adequately assessed with selected- or constructed-response items. Some constructed-response items and performance tasks can be scored automatically; many will be hand-scored by professionally trained readers. These tasks will be delivered as part of the interim and summative components of the assessment system, with more extended tasks available in the digital library as part of the Smarter Balanced-developed exemplar instructional modules and inventory of currently available resources. The time and resource constraints for each performance task will be guided by its placement in the overall assessment system. Smarter Balanced has a comprehensive research agenda. During the spring 2013 pilot, the Consortium will research the effects of including a brief classroom interaction phase in the summative performance task on accessibility and standardization. The classroom interaction phase will then be appropriately constrained for performance tasks depending on the intended use and placement within the overall Smarter Balanced assessment system.