Giving a Remote Test—Smarter Balanced ELA and Mathematics/CAST

Before Testing

As a test administrator (TA), you need to ensure that your students have their statewide student identifiers (SSIDs). Your school district can supply these numbers through regular mail, private chats, student information systems, text, or some other way that keeps the number private. Emails are not an acceptable way for distributing SSIDs.

You and your students should practice using the secure browser before testing begins. The Practicing for Testing  web page provides instructions for TAs to practice with their students. You and your students can also view the demonstration videos prior to the day of testing, to gain a better understanding of how the test session works. Practice tests can occur in a video meeting. You, as the TA, set up a video meeting with your students and then provide the time for you students to log on to it.

The Day of Testing

You should have students join a video meeting prior to the assessment. This allows you to take attendance and know who will be testing. It also provides you the chance to check that each student has an SSID. If a student does not have their SSID, you can provide it via a breakout room, private chat, or some other means by which the student is the only one receiving the information. For more information about ways to provide SSIDs to students, visit the SSIDs topic.

Start Your Test Session

Once you are ready to test the students, log on to the Test Administrator Interface and complete the following steps to select an assessment:

  1. Select the [Start a New Session Now] button (figure 1).

    Start a New Session Now button

    Figure 1. [Start a New Session Now] button

  2. If you have roles in multiple schools or LEAs, select the school to which the students are assigned and then select the [Go] button (figure 2).

    Screen capture of the Select your School/District drop-down list in the Test Administrator Interface with a circle around the Go button

    Figure 2. Selecting a school or district for TAs assigned roles in multiple schools

  3. Using the tree menu like the one shown in figure 3, select the assessment(s) that students who are testing need to access during the session.

    Screen capture of the Operational Test Selection window

    Figure 3. Tree menu for selecting assessments

  4. Select [OK] when the Security Reminder confirmation box pops up.
  5. Once all assessments have been selected, select a radio button to indicate the type of test session; options are In Person and Remote or Hybrid (figure 4).

    Note: All students need to be either in person or remote within a testing session. Do not test students in person and remotely within the same testing session.

    Figure 4. Selecting the session type

  6. Select the [Start Operational Session] button (figure 4).
  7. To initiate the remote tools, select the I agree checkbox in the communication widget (figure 5) and then select the [Allow] button.

    Checkbox with the words 'I agree' to give permission to the testing system to access the student's webcam and microphone

    Figure 5. Permission Box for Remote Tools

  8. The TA should write down the session ID, in case the TA Interface is closed accidentally while students are still testing. If that happens, you can reopen the web browser, navigate back to the TA Interface, and enter the active session ID to reenter.

Reading Instructions to Students in the Video Meeting

While students are in the video meeting, read the Directions for Administration (DFA) to the students. Read each of the following steps aloud:

  1. SAY:

    Today, you will take the [Smarter Balanced—insert grade, ELA/mathematics, and CAT/PT]; or [grade five, eight, or high school California Science Test]. Your test session ID is CA-xxxx-xxx Before logging on, let’s go over some test rules. You must answer each question on the screen before selecting NEXT. If you are unsure of an answer, provide what you think is the best answer. If you would like to review that answer at a later time, mark the question for review before going on to the next question. You may go back and change the answer during this test session. You may pause at any point in the test by selecting PAUSE rather than NEXT after answering a question. Please raise your hand if you need a break and ask permission before selecting PAUSE.
    1. For the computer adaptive portion of a Smarter Balanced assessment or the CAST


      If you pause your test for more than 20 minutes, you will not be able to go back and change your answers to any questions, even the ones you marked for review. You may check your answers to any questions before you pause your test.
    2. For the mathematics CAT in grades six through eleven, the CAST, and the ELA PT only.


      Please keep in mind that this test is divided into segments. When you get to the end of a segment, you will be told to review your answers before moving on. Once you submit your answers and move on to the next segment, you will not be able to return to any of the questions in the previous segment.
  2. SAY:

    Your answers need to be your own work. If you have a cell phone, smartwatch, or other non-approved electronic devices, please turn off the device and put it away. If you finish your test early, please raise your hand by selecting the circle showing your video and selecting the raise hand button.
  3. For the computer adaptive portion of a Smarter Balanced assessment or the CAST


    You will pause your test at the end of the session when told to do so. If your test is paused for more than 20 minutes, any questions that you have already answered will be locked. Once locked, you will not be able to see the questions again. You need to make sure that you review any answers before pausing the test.
  4. SAY:

    When you are ready to begin your test, please leave this video meeting and open the secure browser on your computer.

Leave the video meeting open during the testing session in case students have issues with logging on to the assessment. The secure browser does not allow students to remain on the video meeting while testing. However, students can rejoin the video meeting if they are logged off the test for any reason.

Warning Students of the End of a Session

Send out a broadcast message to the students approximately 10 minutes prior to the end of the test session. The message should contain information such as the following or copied and pasted into the broadcast communication widget:


We have 10 minutes left for this test session. Please review all of your answers that you have already completed. If you have more than one question on your screen, please answer all of those questions before pausing your test. Do not submit your test unless you have answered all of the questions.

When there is one minute remaining, send the following message to students taking the CAT portion or the CAST:


This test session is now over. If you have not finished, please complete the work on your screen. You will be able to finish the remaining questions at another session

Remember, if you are not finished, you will not be able to go back to the questions from this test session, including questions marked for review. You will also not have access to the notes you entered in the Digital Notepad.

When there is one minute remaining, send a final broadcast message, like this one:


If you have answered all the questions on your test and have finished reviewing your answers, select SUBMIT TEST.

If you have not finished, select “Pause” at the top of your screen. If you need additional time let me know.

For students with scratch paper, test administrators can request students to tear up the scratch paper prior to leaving the test session. Students could also return back to the video meeting to tear up scratch paper.


I will now view you tear up any scratch paper or other materials on camera.

Use the TA Interface to pause an assessment manually for any students who did not pause their own assessment, and then stop the test session.