Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium


The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium requested a large bank of performance tasks to be used in state assessments across the country. These tasks are multistep problems that require students to apply their knowledge of mathematics in real-world contexts and to justify their mathematical thinking.

Action Plan:

The UCLA Curtis Center oversaw all aspects of the creation of the performance tasks including:

  • Organizing four in-person item creation conferences with university mathematicians, state and county office mathematics specialists, and K-12 classroom teachers from across the country to gather input, review student work, and share ideas.
  • Collaboratively writing, editing, and revising the performance tasks appropriate for each grade level using our online collaboration portal.
  • Creating scoring rubrics specific to each task
  • Ensuring the contexts and language were grade appropriate
  • Field testing the tasks in diverse classrooms across the country
  • Working with mathematicians to ensure the mathematical integrity of all tasks


UCLA delivered 182 performance tasks that are currently being used in the state assessments in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, the US Virgin Islands, Vermont, and Washington.

How are Performance Tasks created:

Smarter Balanced awarded the UCLA Curtis Center the mission of writing 168 performance tasks for 20 states. The process of developing items for Smarter Balanced assessments includes the UCLA Curtis Center team’s collaboration with K-12 teachers, university professors, researchers, bias and sensitivity experts, and content experts. Click on video below to see how these performance tasks are created.