Mathematics Item and Task Specifications

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

Mathematics Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) specs are organized by claim (1, 2, 3, or 4) and grade level or grade level band. Available in ZIP file format, each folder includes detailed specs for each claim and assessment target. Access these CAT item specs by making the desired selection from the following list: 

Mathematics performance tasks (PT) are designed to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate application of knowledge and higher-order thinking skills to explore and analyze complex, real-world problems. Performance tasks evaluate students’ ability to develop solution plans in response to the challenges presented in the problem. In mathematics, there are two task types: Plan and Design and Evaluate and Recommend. The following documents provides performance task specifications, including information about task design, development, and scoring, and general scoring rubrics related to mathematics performance tasks. Both are available by selecting the desired link:

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 the problem to provide their answers). These are general designs for tasks (or test items, classroom questions, etc).

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