Reading SBAC Test Scores & Performing Levels

Many schools using the Common Core standards are utilizing the teaching resources and progress assessments produced by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Smarter Balanced tests measure student achievement and growth of students in English Language Arts and math in grades 3-8 and high school. The SBAC tests are computer adaptive which means students are given a more difficult question when they answer a question correctly, allowing students to demonstrate the depth of their knowledge, and the questions get easier when students answer questions incorrectly.

Students who take Smarter Balanced assessments receive their SBAC score results in two ways: Scaled scores and Achievement levels. Knowing how to read the SBAC score cards accurately provides a wealth of information on student knowledge and progress. It is important for teachers, students and parents to be able to interpret the report card.

SBAC Scaled Scores

SBAC Score and Performance Level

The scaled scored, which is the student’s overall numerical score, reveals a student’s current achievement level, as well as their growth measure over time. Scaled scores are measured on a continuous scale of approximately 2000 to 3000, and this scale increases over grade levels.

In addition to showing individual achievement and growth, the scaled scores of a school’s student population can be combined together to reflect school- and district-level changes in performance. They can also help districts, schools, and teachers see gaps in achievement among various groups of students in a school or district.

SBAC Achievement Levels

SBAC Scores and achievement levels

Achievement levels are based on a student’s scaled score. Four categories of performance represent the four levels of achievement students can demonstrate. Depending on your school district, these four levels might referred to in a variety of terms, such as basic, developing, proficient, advancing, etc. Smarter Balanced simply refers to them as Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4.

In above example, the student has scored 2654 points and is at performance level 3 which is proficient.

Smarter Balanced considers students that are consistently performing at Levels 3 and 4 to be where they need to be in terms of college and career readiness.

Student Performance on Claims

In addition to letting students know where they are on their overall progress in ELA and math, the Smarter Balanced report also provides information on student performance on various claims related to the subject.


Student Performance on Claims for ELA

The ELA report is broken down into performance in Reading, Writing, Listening and Research Skills which make it easier to understand the areas of strength and areas of improvement which need more focus


Student Performance on Claims for Math

The Math scores are broken down into performance related to Concepts and Procedures, Problem Solving/ Modeling and Data Analysis and Communicating or Reasoning

For Teachers

Smarter Balanced tests provide accurate data, which is really important in revealing student achievement gaps. Though it’s not the only piece of data used, a student’s score on a Smarter Balanced test is one important piece of evidence that teachers can use to measure student achievement, discover learning gaps, and drive instruction in the classroom.

For Parents

Parents are vital to the success of their students. Parents can use the scaled scores and achievement levels of their students report card to identify areas where they can help their student be more successful. Because parents and teachers can both access a student’s score, parents can work together with their students’ teachers to discover ways to support their students’ learning going forward. Parents can also celebrate the areas of growth they see in their student, as revealed by their students’ scores on the Smarter Balanced tests.

While an important part of measuring a student’s progress, it’s also important to remember that the results of a Smarter Balanced test are just one piece of evidence of a student’s progress and should be combined with other measures. Students shouldn’t get discouraged if their Achievement Level is low, and parents and teachers should remember that the results are beginning point of discussion for how to best support a student’s learning.

Tom Farr

Tom Farr

Tom is a writer and high school English teacher in Texas. In addition to a lifelong obsession with all things Star Wars, he loves creating and spending time with his wife and children.