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Interim Assessments Frequently Asked Questions


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  1. What are Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments?

    The Interim Assessments are one of the three components of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, which include the Summative Assessments, the Interim Assessments, and the formative assessment processes (i.e., Digital Library). These components are available to all California classroom teachers to use to support teaching and learning throughout the school year. Interim Assessments are optional resources that provide teachers with actionable information about student progress, and are designed to be given at locally determined intervals. The Interim Assessments will help teachers, students, and parents gauge student progress toward college and career readiness, and identify strengths and areas of remediation in relation to the Common Core State Standards.

    The Smarter Balanced Assessment System includes two types of interim assessments:

    • Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs)
    • Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs)
  2. What are the differences between an ICA and an IAB?

    An ICA mirrors the summative assessment in scope and format, while an IAB is a smaller, focused set of items that measure several assessment targets.

  3. Is there an individual item bank in the interim assessment system that can be used to build tests?

    No. The interim assessment system does not contain a bank of individual test items; however, individual IABs can be used in groups to form larger testlets.

  4. Who can use the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments and how can they be accessed?

    The interim assessments are available to California public school K‒12 educators. The interim assessments can be accessed through the Test Operations Management system (TOMS) on the CAASPP Web site External link opens in new window or tab..

  5. Do non-public school (NPS) staff have access to the interim assessments and Digital Library?

    LEAs are permitted to provide eligible NPS school staff with access to both the interim assessments and the Digital Library. At NPSs, access must be restricted to educators who provide instruction to California public school students.

  1. Is there a local educational agency cost associated with the interim assessments?
    The cost to access the interim assessments is covered by the California Department of Education’s membership fees for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The state legislature voted to fund the Smarter Balanced Digital Library of formative tools and the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments to provide equal access to support materials for all California public school educators. Parts of the interim assessments require hand scoring, and costs associated with hand scoring are the responsibility of the LEA.
  2. When can the interim assessments be used?

    Decisions regarding the time and frequency of use of the interim assessments is locally determined and, the interim assessments are available for use at any time throughout the year.

  3. Are the Interim Assessments computer-adaptive?

    No. For the 2015-16 school year, the ICAs and IABs are in fixed-form format, which means the test is static and does not adapt according to student responses.

  4. Are interim assessments available for students at every grade level?

    Yes. The interim assessments were developed for students in grades three through eight and grade eleven, but all K–12 educators have access to interim assessments.

  5. Are the interim assessments available in paper-pencil format?

    No. Smarter Balanced designed both the ICAs and IABs to be computer-based tests. A paper-pencil format will not be provided.

  6. What log-in credentials are necessary for public school K-12 educators to use the interim assessments?

    LEAs will need to ensure that all educators who wish to use the interim assessments have both a working TOMS log-in and a working Digital Library log-in. Educators cannot log into the Digital Library with a TOMS log-in and they cannot log into TOMS with a Digital Library log-in. Educators will use the TOMS log-in to administer and score the Interim Assessments; they will then use the Digital Library log-in to access the Interim Assessment reports.

  7. How will the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments be scored?

    Computer-based questions will be machine scored by the Smarter Balanced Test Delivery Engine. Scoring of constructed-response questions and performance tasks will be the responsibility of the LEA. There are, however, IABs and ICAs that do not require hand-scoring. To view which assessments do not require hand-scoring, please see the ICAs Table of Hand Scoring Items  and the IABs Table of Hand Scoring Requirements.

  8. When will the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments score reports be available to K-12 educators?

    The interim assessment score reports will be available within 24-48 hours after all hand scoring has been completed and can be viewed in the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Reporting System External link opens in new window or tab.. Note that all hand-scoring requirements must be completed to view reports.

  9. What are the available IAB and ICA topics and how many items need to be hand scored for each IAB?

    A table listing the number of items on each IAB that requires local scoring is posted at Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Blocks Web page. Likewise, a table listing the number of items on each ICA and how many items require local scoring is posted at Smarter Balanced Interim Comprehensive Assessments Web page.

  10. How will the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment results be reported?

    The Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Reporting System is accessed with the same log-in credentials used to access the Digital Library from the CAASPP Web site External link opens in new window or tab..

  11. What information will the interim assessment reports provide?

    The ICA reports will include the same information as the summative assessment: overall scale score, achievement levels, and claim-level information. The claims for ELA pertain to reading, writing, listening/speaking, and research, for mathematics, the claims pertain to concepts/processes, problem solving, communicating reasoning, and modeling/data analysis.

    The IABs focus on a smaller set of skills and are designed to provide targeted information for teachers about student performance. Results will be reported at the claim level. Claims for ELA pertain to reading, writing, listening/speaking, and research. For mathematics the claims pertain to concepts/processes, problem solving, communicating reasoning, and modeling/data analysis. In addition, the IAB results will be reported based on three classifications: “Below Standard,” “At/Near Standard,” and “Above Standard.”

  12. Can an educator see results if students complete only the machine scored portion of the interim assessments, or does the educator have to complete the local scoring portions to see any results?

    No. A student score report for the interim assessment can only be produced once all local scoring has been submitted. The Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Reporting System will only provide performance information once all portions of the interim assessment are completed. Some IABs require no hand scoring.

  13. Will a classroom activity be provided for the interim assessment performance tasks?

    Yes. Each ICA will include a performance task for both ELA and mathematics. Each grade level will have one ELA and one math performance task included in IABs.

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Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
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