A Closer Look at the
SMARTER Balanced Assessments:
Elementary English Language Arts
Della Larimore
Project Director III, Reading/Language Arts
Division of Curriculum and Instructional Services
By the end of the session, participants will:
• Understand the four types of assessment
• Learn about the Depth of Knowledge Levels
within assessment items
• Identify and discuss instructional supports
needed for student success
Item Types
• Selected response
• Constructed-response
Technology enhanced
• Extended constructed response
• Performance Tasks
• Students must generate a response
Students are provided an information text.
Read the text and answer the prompt that follows.
Item Prompt:
The author uses the pronouns “your” and “you.”
Explain how these pronouns develop the idea that laws are
important to the reader. Support your answer using details
from the text.
Technology Enhanced
• Constructed Response
• Extended Response
• Performance Tasks
Digital Toolkit
Extended Response
• Students are often asked to justify their
• Requires careful scorer and calibration
Develop an oral presentation about the
comparisons on how information related to
theme, topic or events is influenced by different
presentations, perspectives or formats.
Performance Task
• Require more than one class period to
• Grade 3: 60-90 minutes over two days, one to
two tasks
• Grades 4-7: 90-120 minutes over two days
• Assessing multiple standards
• Look at a sample:
Investing Sharks
Digital Citizenship
Item Types
• How will you be able to
incorporate, or support the use
of, different assessment types
into your classroom now?
Eligible Criteria for a CCSS
• Learnable within the school year
• Expected content for all students at the grade
• Measurable in end-of-year summative
• Depth of knowledge
ELA Eligibility across grades 3-12
• In grade 3, 35 of 42 standards are eligible
• In grade 4 and 5, 35 of 43 standards are
• In grades 6-12, 36 of 41 standards are eligible
Depth of Knowledge Levels
Video available on vimeo.com
Depth of Knowledge with Karin Hess
Depth of Knowledge (DOK)
Norman Webb’s research
Complexity of cognitive processes
Not the verb alone to assign DOK level
Ways in which students interact with content
Item Design Considerations
• Screened standards for on-demand
measurability and Depth of Knowledge (DOK)
Level 1 (Recall)
Level 2 (Basic Skills and concepts)
Level 3 (Strategic Thinking and Reasoning)
Level 4 (Extended Thinking)
DOK Level 1
Recall and Reproduction
• Simple procedures and/or formulas
• Students either know the information or they
• There is a correct answer
DOK Level 2
Skills and Concepts
• Involves the engagement of some mental
processing beyond recall
• Requires students to make some decisions
about approaches
DOK Level 3
Strategic Thinking
• Requires deep understanding and the use of
higher-order thinking skills
• Stating one’s reasoning is a key marker
• Requires coordination of knowledge and skill
from multiple subject-matter areas
• Assessment item with more than one possible
DOK Level 4
Extended Thinking
• High cognitive demand
• Students are expected to make connections
within the content and solve real-world
• Employ and sustain strategic thinking
processes over a longer period of time
What’s the DOK level?
Ask yourself:
• What level of work are the students most
commonly required to perform?
• What is the complexity of the task rather than
the difficulty?
• What are the skills and knowledge the
students will need to complete the task?
What’s the DOK level?
Word Sorts:
• Find words in text that illustrate a defined
• Create an open sort and define the rule and
• Sort known words as quickly as possible
• How would you take a word sort activity to a
level 4?
• In what ways will the Depth of
Knowledge levels impact your
Draft “Claims”
• Board statements of what knowledge and
skills that is important to measure
• Learning outcomes for the Common Core
State Standards
• Third feedback period, March 16
• Require evidence
Draft “Targets”
• Indicates prioritized content for the
summative assessment
• Shows how one or more of the Common Core
State Standards (or parts of standards)
address the target
Take a Closer Look
• Sample item
Considerations for Needed Support
• Professional development
• Teacher support
• Instructional Implications

Elementary ELA - Della Larimore