Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment Test Administration

Universal Tools, Designated Supports and Accommodations Guide and Tutorials

Below you will find brief clips and descriptions of the Embedded Universal Tools, Designated Supports and Accommodations that are available on the Smarter Balanced test. For more detailed information on SBAC Designated Supports and Accommodations, please consult the Accessibility Guide for CAASPP Online Testing.

Embedded Universal Tools

Universal tools available to all students for computer administered Smarter Balanced assessments. It includes a description of each tool. Although these tools are generally available to all students, educators may determine that one or more might be distracting for a particular student, and thus might indicate that the tool should be turned off for the administration of the assessment to the student (see Section II – Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines). 

Embedded Designated Supports

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).

It is recommended that a consistent process be used to determine these supports for individual students. All educators making these decisions should be trained on the process and should be made aware of the range of designated supports available.


Accommodations are changes in procedures or materials that increase equitable access during the Smarter Balanced assessments. They allow these students to show what they know and can do. Smarter Balanced members 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. One exception to the IEP or 504 requirement is for students who have had a physical injury (e.g., broken hand or arm) that impairs their ability to use a computer. These students may use the speech-to-text or the scribe accommodations (if they have had sufficient experience with the use of these), as noted in this section.

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 ART, or member’s comparable platform, for embedded accommodations, or by ensuring that the materials or setting are available for the assessment for non-embedded accommodations.