Free SBA Practice Test

In the state of New Mexico, students in public and charter schools must take the Standards Based Assessment (SBA). It is given to those in grades 3-8, 10, and 11. The SBA also serves as an exit exam for high school. In order to receive a high school diploma, students must pass the reading, math, and science sections by the end of their senior year. It is a state-mandated, standardized test that is used to assess whether students meet standards specific to their grade level, and is also used to give schools a performance grade based on their students' test results. Data from the reading and mathematics assessments is used in the annual determination of accountability that each school and each district is subjected to.

Individual school districts must schedule the exact dates of the exam based on the testing window that is provided by the state Department of Public Education. The exam is usually taken in March or April. All students in grades 3-8, 10, and 11 take the reading, math, and science exams. Students in grades 3-8 also take the writing exam. The writing sessions for grades 5 and 8 must be taken on a single day; there is more flexibility for the other sections as to when and how they can be scheduled.

Questions are either in a multiple-choice or short-answer format. Multiple-choice questions are worth a single point, short-answer questions are worth 2 points, open-ended questions are worth 3 or 4 points, and editing tasks (part of the writing exam in grades 5 and 8) are worth up to 6 points apiece. Approximately 20 percent of all questions on the SBA are in short-answer or open-ended format. All sections of the SBA are untimed. The state estimates that each session can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes.

Beginning in 2014, the SBA will be administered solely on computers in schools, replacing the old versions that required paper and pencils. Schools will be required to have at least one computer for every five students in order to sufficiently proctor the exam to all students. One of the advantages of moving to a computer-based exam is that test takers will be afforded fewer opportunities to cheat. In addition, the state is expecting to save money as a result of the exams being taken solely on the computer.

High school students who do not pass the exam are allowed to take it again. Sophomores who do not pass can take it again in the spring of their junior year, and juniors who do not pass can take it again in the fall of their senior year, usually early in the year. Passing the SBA is not all students have to do in order to receive a diploma; passing exams at the end of U.S. history and writing courses are also required in order to graduate. In addition, those who fail the SBA can still receive a diploma by earning certain scores on a variety of other exams, including the ACT, PLAN, PSAT, SAT, Accuplacer, and a number of AP exams.

Many students do well on all of the multiple-choice portions of the various tests, though more score less than proficient on the short-answer portions. Test takers are advised to answer the short questions as completely as possible, as many either do not answer the questions at all or do not support the brief answers that they do provide. Test takers are also advised to use graphs, tables, or other content when submitting short answers on the math and science questions.

In the SBA, students are rated at one of four performance levels: beginning step, nearing proficiency, proficient, and advanced. The goal is for all students in the state of New Mexico to score at or above the proficient level.

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Last Updated: 03/01/2017


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