Skip Navigation

Frequently Asked QuestionsPDF Print

FAQ - AccessibilityAccessibility

  • Universal tools are access features of the assessment that are either provided as digitally- delivered components of the test administration system or separate from it. Universal tools are available to all students based on student preference and selection. The Smarter Balanced digitally- delivered assessments include a wide array of embedded universal tools. These are available to all students as part of the technology platform. Some universal tools may need to be provided outside of the computer test administration system (non-embedded). Designated supports for the Smarter Balanced assessments are those features that are available for use by any student for whom the need has been indicated by an educator (or team of educators with parent/guardian and student). Designated supports need to be identified prior to assessment administration. Embedded and non- embedded supports must be entered into the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE). Any non- embedded designated supports must be acquired prior to testing. Accommodations are changes in procedures or materials that increase equitable access during the Smarter Balanced assessments. Assessment accommodations generate valid assessment results for students who need them; they allow these students to show what they know and can do. Smarter Balanced states have identified digitally-embedded and non-embedded accommodations for students for whom there is documentation of the need for the accommodations on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 accommodation plan. Determination of which accommodations an individual student will have available for the assessment is necessary because these accommodations must be made available before the assessment, either by entering information into the TIDE, for embedded accommodations, or by ensuring that the materials or setting are available for the assessment for non-embedded accommodations.

  • Print On Demand is an Accommodation for students with a documented disability in an IEP or 504. Print On Demand is a non-embedded accommodation consisting of paper copies of either passages/stimuli and/or items are printed for students. For those students needing a paper copy of a passage or stimulus, permission for the students to request printing must first be set in TIDE. For those students needing a paper copy of the test, the help desk must be contacted by the school or district coordinator to place an order for the student. A very small percentage of students should need this accommodation.

  • This is a non-embedded Accommodation dictated by an IEP or 504. Voice recognition allows students to use their voices as input devices to the computer, to dictate responses or give commands (e.g., opening application programs, pulling down menus, and saving work). Voice recognition software generally can recognize speech up to 160 words per minute. Students may use their own assistive technology devices. Students who have motor or processing disabilities (such as dyslexia) or who have had a recent injury (such as a broken hand or arm) that make it difficult to produce text or commands using computer keys may need alternative ways to work with computers. Students will need to be familiar with the software, and have had many opportunities to use it prior to testing. Speech-to-text software requires that the student go back through all generated text to correct errors in transcription, including use of writing conventions; thus, prior experience with this accommodation is essential. If students use their own assistive technology devices, all assessment content should be deleted from these devices after the test for security purposes. For many of these students, using voice recognition software is the only way to demonstrate their composition skills. Still, use of speech-to-text does require that students know writing conventions and that they have the review and editing skills required of students who enter text via the computer keyboard. It is important that students who use speech-to-text also be able to develop planning notes via speech-to-text, and to view what they produce while composing via speech-to-text.

  • Calculators are not available for Grades 3 through 5. For Grades 6 through 11, the calculator will vary by grade as follows: Grade 6 - Basic Calculators, Grades 7 and 8 - Scientific Calculators, and Grades 9 through 11 - Scientific, Graphic and Regression Calculators.

  • The School Test Coordinator (SC), District Test Coordinator (DC), and District Administrator (DA) have the credentials to enter the student information for Accommodations and should be done ahead of time. A Teacher (TE)/Test Administrator (TA) will not have the credentials to change settings in TIDE. 

  • The School Test Coordinator (SC), District Test Coordinator (DC), District Administrator (DA) and Teacher (TE) have the credentials to enter the student information for Designated Supports and should be done ahead of time. Any adjustments to the default of regular test Universal Tools (if you’re going to the next level of Designated Supports or Accommodations) must be entered into the TIDE system ahead of signing in for the test.

  • Yes, you will find them on the .xlxs or .csv format called StudentSettingsTemplate that can be downloaded in TIDE.

  • Not for the training and practice test, but accommodations need to be set prior to a student taking the Interim or Summative Assessment.

  • Any time prior to the administration of the Interim and or Summative Assessment.

FAQ - General InformationGeneral Information

  • This portal acts as the gateway to all your assessment systems. The portal provides links and resources to help students, families, and educators prepare and take full advantage of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) assessment systems.

  • During the testing window,  M-F 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.EST
    Outside the testing window, M-F 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.EST

FAQ - Practice, Interim, and Summative TestsPractice, Interim, and Summative Tests

  • Yes.

  • Yes, the Practice and Training Tests are unlimited.

  • Yes, the Practice and Training Tests are unlimited.

  • No, Practice Tests do not provide feedback whereas Summative Assessments do after the students' assessments have been scored.

  • No, they are optional.

  • No, Interim Assessments are real tests, scored, and reported in the Online Reporting System.

  • Yes.

  • The Interim Assessment testing window is scheduled between October 23, 2017–May 25, 2018 while the Summative Assesment testing window is scheduled between March 21, 2018–May 25, 2018.

  • No, they are not allowed to retake the Summative Assessment during this administration window.  

FAQ - Performance TasksPerformance Tasks

  • There are two types of Performance Task: ELA and Mathematics. The ELA PT consists of two parts. It is recommended that each part be administered on separate days corresponding with the segment. In part 1, students will read sources and answer three research questions. During part 2 (the full write), students will provide a written response using those sources. Only in part 2 of the ELA PT may students have access to a hard-copy (non- embedded universal tool) or online dictionary or online thesaurus (embedded universal tools). The Mathematics PT is administered in one session.

  • No, Performance Task is not computer-adaptive. Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments have two parts: Performance Task (PT) and Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) in which PT is not computer-adaptive while CAT is computer-adaptive. These two parts also make up the interim version of the Summative Assessments called Smarter Balanced Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs). However, because ICAs are Interim Assessments, the CAT portion is not computer-adaptive and is called Fixed Form Test because it is fixed form. 

  • The assessments are comprised of two components (tests) for ELA and Mathematics: Fixed Form Tests and Performance Task (PT). Smarter Balanced recommends that students take the Fixed Form Tests and PT items on separate days. For each content area, Smarter Balanced also recommends that students begin with the Fixed Form Tests items, followed by the PT. Districts/Schools may opt to administer in a different order if needed. In order to receive a score for an ELA or Math Summative Assessment, both the Fixed Form Tests and PT must be completed within each respective content area.

FAQ - ScoringScoring

  • Hand-scoring for the Summative Assessments for the Summative Assessments is conducted by Measured Progress.

  • Hand scoring for the Interim Assessments is conducted at the local level; therefore, individual school staff needs to be trained to hand-score the various component of the Interim Assessment using the Teacher Hand Scoring System (THSS).

  • The Teacher Hand Scoring System (THSS) user guide and training module are available on the portal. Also, there are training guides and exemplars for each item in the Teacher Hand Scoring System.

  • Yes. The turn-around time to see results in ORS will depend on the school’s hand-scoring process.

  • No, the Interim ICAs are mimics of the full Summative Assessments and the Fixed Form Tests and PT components cannot be separated. Therefore, hand-scoring is necessary for the ICAs.

FAQ - Test AdministrationTest Administration

  • Yes, they are supported for Smarter Balanced Assessments.

  • Yes, they are supported for Smarter Balanced Assessments.

  • Students are only permitted one opportunity per administration for the Summative Assessments.  

FAQ - Test Delivery SystemsTest Delivery Systems

  • TIDE stands for "Test Information Distribution Engine." The TIDE system provides administrators with the tools to add and manage users and students participating in the ELA and Math Smarter Balanced assessments.

  • TDS stands for "Test Delivery System." It is the online testing system that will be used for the practice tests, training tests, interim assessments (optional), and the summative assessments.

  • The Student will need the Secure Browser installed on their testing machine. Once the Secure Browser has been installed, the student will need their First Name, SSID, and the test session number (generated by the TA).

  • No, SSIDs need to be entered on the machine the student will be using at the time of testing.

  • Yes, the Montana Help Desk is available Monday – Friday 6:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., Mountain Time outside of the testing window and 5:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Mountain Time during the Summative Test Window.

  • Yes.

Sort by Category