Badger Exam 3-8 : Wisconsin's Smarter Balanced Assessment

The Badger Exam 3-8 is Wisconsin's Smarter Balanced Assessment. In 2010, Wisconsin elected to join the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of the two national consortia that were formed to help establish a series of “next generation assessments” to measure students’ career and college readiness.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) is a state-led consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure student progress toward college- and career-readiness. Smarter Balanced is one of two multistate consortia awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the College and Career Ready Standards by the 2014-15 school year.

The components of the Smarter Balanced Assessment include:

The summative assessment will be administered during the last 8 weeks of the school year (measuring students’ cumulative progress from the past school year). Smarter summative assessments are administered in English Language Arts (ELA)  and Mathematics for grades 3-8.The ELA summative assessment will consist of Section 1 which includes a variety of selected response, constructed response, and technology enhanced items. The mathematics summative assessment will consist of two parts: Section 1 which includes a variety of selected response, constructed response, and technology enhanced items; and Section 2 a performance task (PT). The summative assessment will:

  • Accurately describe both student achievement and growth of student learning as part of program evaluation and school, district, and state accountability systems;
  • Provide valid, reliable, and fair measures of students’ progress toward, and attainment of, the knowledge and skills required to be college- and career-ready; and
  • Provide an efficient and precise measurement of achievement, and quick turnaround of results.

A secure, online reporting system that provides assessment results to students, parents, teachers, and administrators. The reports generated will show student achievement and progress toward mastery of the Common Core State Standards.


What's New


Q. How many questions are in the Badger Exam?

A. There are 45-48 questions in the English Language Arts (ELA) assessment in each grade. There are 35-37 questions in section 1, and 3-6 questions in section 2 of mathematics assessment depending on the grade. Please see the Badger Exam ELA and mathematics blueprints for more information.

Q.What is the breakdown of the number of calculator and non calculator questions in mathematics assessment in grades 6-8? 

Grade  No- Calculator items Calculator items
6 1-15  16-31
7 1-9 10-31
8 1-8 9-32

Students should complete all the non calculator questions and submit that segment prior to taking the calculator items. If a student submits the non calculator segment and move on to the calculator segment, they will not be able to go back to the non calculator part of the test. The reopen appeal would not work in these cases.

TOMS Throughout the test window, districts will need to keep TOMS current.

This includes:

  • Updating enrollment information for any students moving into or out of the state, district, or school. 
  • Confirming that all users including district, school, and Test Administrator (TA) roles are set up in TOMS.
  • Confirming that necessary accommodations or designated supports are identified in TOMS.

ELL Students New to Country

All students enrolled at the time of testing must be assessed. English language learners (ELLs) with limited English proficiency who are new to country (less than 12 calendar months) are permitted a 1- time exemption to the ELA portion of the Badger Exam. See guidance found at Students in district for less than a full academic year (FAY) are counted for test participation only. Enter the non-participation code of "Recently arrived ELL" for the student in TOMS. This will designate the student as a non-participant for the one-time exemption of the ELA section of the Badger Exam while still allowing them to participate in the required Mathematics Sections 1 and 2.


Badger Exam Secure browsers should have been installed on all devices used for testing. Headphones should be made available for all students during the ELA assessments and for students who will be receiving the Text-To-Speech (TTS) and audio glossary accessibility features for the math assessment. All external assistive devices should have been tested with the Badger Exam Assistive Technology Browser to ensure functionality. Check the students’ testing devices to ensure that the volume is turned on prior to launching the secure browser. In the event the volume is muted prior to logging on to the test, student should logout and the volume should be turned on and then log back in to the test.

Text-To-Speech (TTS) in chromebooks

The TTS in chromebooks is no longer in British accent. This issue has been resolved. Test Tickets All Test tickets for students were made available in TOMS by April 6th. These test tickets should have been printed and distributed to Test Administrators (TA). Test Tickets contain confidential information and should be securely stored at all times. Test Tickets should be handed off to students only for logging on to the testing section and be collected immediately after login.

Classroom Activities

As a reminder, students must participate in the classroom activity prior to participating in the mathematics Performance Task. The classroom activities are available in the Badger Exam Resources webpage classroom activities are assigned by school and grade. The classroom activity lookup table and the administration guidelines are available in the Badger Exam Resources webpage The accessibility guidelines for classroom activities are available in the badger Exam Accessibility webpage

Online Calculators Use

Mathematics assessments in grades 6-8 have both calculator and non calculator items. When students are taking the math assessments in these grades, they will be answering all the non-calculator items first. Once they are done with the non-calculator items, they will be moving on to the calculator items. They are unable to move onto the calculator section until they have completed and submitted the noncalculator section. Once the non-calculator section has been submitted they will not be able to return to it.

Unauthorized Electronic Devices

Inform students and have a sign in the testing room specifying that unauthorized electronic devices and cell phones are not allowed in the testing environment (this includes: cell phones, cameras, laptops, wireless communication devices, etc.) 

Preparing your Students

Please help students approach the testing in a relaxed, positive way.

  • Explain that the purpose of taking an achievement test is to find out which skills have been mastered and which skills need further development.
  • Point out that some items may be more difficult than others and some material may be new to students; they are not expected to know all the answers.
  • Reassure students that they will be given ample time to do their best.
  • Emphasize that the test requires no special preparation.

Classroom Activities Now available at

Policy update from Smarter consortium regarding Badger Exam Grade 3-5 Read Aloud Accommodations. See

Braille Technology for the Badger Exam

The Wisconsin Center for Visually Impaired will be facilitating the braille technology for administration of Badger Exam for the students needing braille tests. Please contact Mandy Jordan at WCBVI ( coordinate the Badger Exam braille testing.

TAM and DAC Guide now available on the Resources Page

Quick Contacts

Badger Exam Helpdesk
(844) 711-6493


Viji Somasundaram
Assessment Program Coordinator
Jennifer Teasdale
Education Program Specialist
Audrey Lesondak
Assessment for ELLs
Phil Cranley
Data, Student Demographics and Privacy Issues
Duane Dorn
Test Security



Smarter Website


For questions about this information, contact