SBAC Sample Items: Checkboxes, Matching Tables, and Short Text

In comparison to other state exams that consist of mainly multiple choice questions, the SBAC presents much more challenging item types that offer more room for error and require students to have advanced technical knowledge. It’s daunting enough for students to deeply understand the content required and the strategic thinking behind each question, but on top of this, students need to navigate advanced technology like hot spots, graphing, categorizing, and checkboxes. In this article, we’ll dive into a few SBAC sample items and identify some common mistakes. 

SBAC Sample Items: Examples and Common Mistakes

Multiple Choice

Starting with the most straightforward question type, students are generally more familiar with the technology behind multiple-choice question types. In these questions, only one option can be selected. Students must select the button that corresponds to an option and have the ability to deselect an option and select a different button. 


The checkbox question offers a bit more room for simple mistakes in comparison to multiple choice. This question type requires students to identify one or more correct options and mark the checkbox corresponding to the correct options. They must understand how to deselect an option by clicking on the checkbox that is already marked. The most common reason students miss this question is they often see that it resembles multiple choice and make the mistake of only selecting the first correct answer that they identify. It’s important to train students to go through each option on checkbox questions and to only move to the next question once they’ve tried every answer option, even after they’ve found one or multiple options that are correct. 

Matching Tables

A matching tables question requires students to analyze a table and correctly select the checkbox that corresponds with the content in each column. This question can be tricky: in order for students to deselect an option, they must select a checkbox that is already marked, and they must make sure to select an answer for each column. 

Short Text

Short answer questions require students to enter text into a multiline text box and have the ability to edit previously entered text. Students will often need to be able to explain their thinking in more than just a one-word answer on short answer questions. Common mistakes made here include students adding too many spaces, typos in their answers, and not explaining their thinking in depth.

Graphing/Item Interaction

Graphing and item interaction questions are another type of question that students often struggle with on the SBAC. These item types require that students have the technical ability to plot a point on a graph, shade, or select the correct area on a visual. 

Table Fill-In

Table fill-in question types require students to enter text into individual table cells or drag-and-drop objects into gaps. Students will need to click on multiple blank spaces within a table and enter the correct corresponding answer. 

Preparing Students for SBAC Item Types 

In order to prepare students for the variety of item types on the SBAC, teachers need to be able to incorporate tech skills into their ongoing instruction. With Classtime, students can practice exact SBAC sample items like multiple choice, checkboxes, matching tables, short text, and more. Educators can use these question types as exit tickets out the door, homework, or self-practice. Using the actual tech that is needed on the SBAC in class for just a few minutes a day is greatly beneficial in helping students avoid common tech mistakes. 

See examples of SBAC question prep tech types on Classtime below: 

Matching Tables


Learn more about how to improve SBAC scores by incorporating the SBAC tech types into your ongoing instruction through our Countdown to the SBAC program.

Implementation and Training SBAC program

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