English Language Arts Item and Task Specifications

Item and performance task specifications provide guidance on how to translate the Smarter Balanced Content Specifications into actual assessment items. 

ELA Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) specs are organized by grade level (bands 3-5, 6-8, and grade 11) and by claim and assessment target. Each specification includes the following sections and is available in ZIP file format by selecting the desired section: 

Performance tasks specifications include opinion (3-5), narrative (3-5, 6-8), informative (3-5), explanatory and argumentative tasks for grades 6-8 and 11.  These specifications include the following sections and are available in ZIP file format by selecting the desired section:

ELA Stimulus Specifications – laying out rules for text selection – are also provided.

Content Comments 

Although the specs may seem fairly intimidating, they lay out task models for developing different types of items to address each target – for example, task models for developing multiple choice items, for developing multiple choice items with multiple correct answers, and for items using hot text (for technology-enhanced items where students highlight particular parts of texts to provide their answers). These are general designs for tasks (or test items, classroom questions, etc).

The performance tasks provide general designs for reading and writing tasks and scoring rubrics that can be customized to classroom content.