Smarter Balanced assessments were designed to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a set of skills and knowledge students should master by the end of each grade level.
There are SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) tests in both English Language Arts and Mathematics. These tests are administered to public school students in SBAC member states in grades 3-8 and once more in grade 11.
These are challenging assessments, but we’re here to help you and your fifth grader prepare. We’re providing a SBAC practice test for 5th graders, in addition to plenty of tips and information, to make testing season as stress-free as possible.
Let’s get started! First click the button below to get a 5th grade practice test. Along with this test, you will also receive a bonus PDF "5 Top Tips to Use Practice Tests Effectively" to help your child study for the test.
Smarter Balanced 5th Grade Basics
Each Smarter Balanced Assessment consists of two parts: a computer adaptive test and a Performance Task.
The computer adaptive test customizes test questions to an individual student’s skill level. If a student is answering questions correctly, the questions become more rigorous. If a student is answering incorrectly, questions get less difficult.
This allows SBAC to provide more accurate scores and reliably pinpoint student strengths and weaknesses.
Due to the Common Core State Standard’s focus on higher level thinking, the computer adaptive test is not exclusively multiple choice. There are three question types:
The Performance Task takes about 45 minutes to complete. Students must apply fifth grade level skills and knowledge, as well as critical thinking and problem solving, to respond to complex real-world problems.
SBAC tests are untimed to prevent student scores from being negatively impacted by time constraints.
However, SBAC estimates that fifth grade students will need about 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete the Mathematics exam and 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete the English Language Arts (ELA) test.
SBAC Practice Test 5th Grade English Language Arts
The SBAC ELA guidelines state that fifth grade students should “demonstrate progress toward college and career standards in English language arts and literacy.”
What does this mean? SBAC also provides four specific “content claims”:
Below, we’ll discuss how the SBAC ELA exam measures these four skills for fifth grade students, as well as providing sample questions for each content claim.
Students must read and answer questions on both nonfiction and literary texts on a fifth grade reading level.
Students are also expected to compare, integrate, and analyze information from multiple texts.
Reading comprehension questions may relate to the following topics:
Common Core standards heavily emphasize the ability to provide evidence to support claims. For this reason, many questions will require your child to cite evidence from the text.
This can include providing evidence in a written constructed response, clicking or highlighting key evidence from the text, or answering two-part selected response items.
These two part selected response items require students to answer a standard multiple choice question for Part A. In Part B, students select the best piece of evidence (or multiple pieces, in some case) to support their response to Part A.
The Writing component of SBAC ELA tests students on the ability to revise, edit, and compose both informational and literary texts.
Students will encounter selected response and nontraditional response items related to revising/editing texts.
Some of these questions are stand-alone, like the following:
Others are passage-based, as in the example below:
Students are also required to compose brief texts, which may be informational or narrative.
Narrative brief writes may require students to write an alternate beginning or ending, add dialogue, or write a text from a different character’s point of view.
Lastly, students are required to write a Performance Task. The Performance Task requires students to read and take purposeful notes on several sources. They then answer three questions and write an informational article or opinion-based response based on the provided source material.
Below are the directions for a 5th grade ELA Performance Task:
After reading these directions, students read three articles, answer three research questions, and write an opinion paper agreeing or disagreeing with a rule allowing only service dogs and miniature horses as service animals in public places. Students are expected to revise and edit to create a final draft.
These Performance Tasks are scored based on focus and organization, explanations and evidence, and conventions.
Speaking and Listening
To demonstrate listening skills, students listen to a variety of one-minute informational texts and respond to listening comprehension questions, which are very similar in content to the reading comprehension questions.
For example, the following is a 5th grade listening comprehension question based on an audio performance entitled “Why Does the Leaning Tower of Pisa Lean?”:
Students are permitted to rewind or pause audio presentations and take notes as needed.
Research skills are assessed through questions related to paraphrasing texts, avoiding plagiarism, finding relevant evidence to support claims, evaluating the reliability of sources, and taking purposeful notes.
The Performance Task described in the Writing section above is also used to assess research skills. After reading the three sources in the Performance Task, students answer three research questions like the examples below:
While this test is rigorous, keep in mind that there are resources available to help your child prepare. Check out the Smarter Balanced practice test 5th grade to view and practice more sample questions.
SBAC Practice Test 5th Grade Mathematics
On SBAC Mathematics, 5th grade students are expected to “demonstrate progress toward college and career readiness in mathematics.”
The four content claims are:
Let’s examine exactly how these four areas of knowledge are measured for fifth grade students.
Concepts and Procedures
5th grade students should be able to show mastery of the following skills:
Fifth grade students should be able to apply grade-level appropriate mathematics to solve complex real-world problems.
Students should be able to identify the key information in a practical situation and map relationships using diagrams and other tools.
Students should be able to justify and explain their reasoning. Additionally, they should be able to identify flaws in reasoning and logic.
Students may be asked to critique, prove, justify, or investigate mathematical conjectures and logic and complete longer “investigations.”
Modeling and Data Analysis
This skill is measured through a Performance Task. Students must apply math to real world situations at a deeper level of understanding.
They may be asked to develop mathematical models of their own or to improve upon provided models. Students may also need to make reasoned estimates and plan, design, evaluate, and recommend tasks.
Below are the directions for a sample 5th grade Mathematics Performance Task:
Students go on to complete related tasks like the following:
How to Successfully Prepare Using SBAC Practice Tests 5th Grade
While the SBAC practice tests 5th grade are an excellent preparation tool, having your child simply answer questions isn’t effective.
Follow these tips for best results:
If you use the SBAC practice tests 5th grade effectively, your child should be on the path to a stellar performance on Smarter Balanced 5th grade.