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Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments


The Smarter Balanced Assessment System has three components: the summative assessments, designed for accountability purposes; interim assessments (IAs), designed to support teaching and learning throughout the year; and the Digital Library, designed to support classroom-based formative assessment processes. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Graphic (PDF) displays the relationship between these components, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and college and career readiness.

Pursuant to California Education Code Section 60642.6, interim assessments are available to local educational agencies for use in K–12. The interim assessments are specifically designed to provide the following:

  • Meaningful information for gauging student progress throughout the year toward mastery of the skills measured by the summative assessments
  • Assessments of the CCSS, which can be used at strategic points during the school year.

There are two types of Interim Assessments:

  1. Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs) are built on the same blueprints as the summative assessments. The ICAs include the same item types and formats, including performance tasks, as the summative assessments, and yield results on the same vertical scale. The ICAs yield overall scale scores, overall performance level designations, and claim-level information. For the 2015–16 school year each student has three opportunities to take the ICA.

  2. Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs) focus on the smaller sets of targets and therefore provide more detailed information for instructional purposes. The IABs yield overall information for each block. Charts listing IABs available by grade (PDF) show the blocks available for grade level English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. To see the blocks that are currently available, view the Interim Assessment, Part 1 Webinar External link opens in new window or tab.. For the 2015–16 school year, students have unlimited access to all IABs.

Both the ICAs and IABs are administered online, using the same delivery software as the summative assessments. These assessments are designed to be accessed at regular intervals throughout the school year. Both the ICAs and IABs provide results that teachers and administrators can examine in relation to the CCSS and then adjust instruction accordingly.

Key Features:

  • Assessments are accessible in grades K–12.
  • At the high school level, the assessments are consistent with the grade 11 summative assessment and can be administered in grades 9, 10, 11, and/or 12.
  • Assessments are optional, not secure, and frequency of use is a local decision.
  • Test items were developed under the same conditions, protocols, and review procedures as those used in the summative assessments.
  • Most items can be scored by the Smarter Balanced test delivery engine. Constructed-response items and performance tasks must be scored locally.
  • Claim score reporting is based on three classifications related to the overall scale score – “Above Standard,” “At/Near Standard,” and “Below Standard.”

Related Resources

  • Interim Assessment Video Series – This series consists of five video modules intended to help educators effectively use the interim assessment systems and tools that are needed to select, administer, hand score, view and use results from the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments.
  • ICAs Table of Hand Scoring Items and Total Number of Questions Per Test – This document is intended to assist LEA CAASPP coordinators, site coordinators, and test administrators in planning for the administration and local hand scoring of the interim comprehensive assessments (ICA). The following table provides key information, including the total number of items appearing on each ICA. This total includes items that are both machine-scored and hand-scored. Also included on this table are the number of items that require local hand scoring on the non-Performance Task (PT) constructed response, the PT constructed response, and the PT essay.
  • IABs Table of Hand Scoring Requirements by Subject and Grade – These tables are intended to assist LEAs in planning for the administration and local hand scoring of the Interim Assessment Blocks (IAB). Included in each table are the total number of items on each IAB. The total number of items shown includes both machine-scored and hand-scored items. Each table also provides the number of constructed response and essay items that require local hand scoring.
  • Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments Estimated Times for Hand Scoring Items – This table is a Smarter Balanced document that describes a range of estimated times required to complete the hand scoring portion of the interim assessments.
  • Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Statement of Purpose External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) – This is an eleven page Smarter Balanced document that describes the purpose of the interim assessments and provides a comprehensive overview of the interim assessments.
  • Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Interim Assessments External link opens in new window or tab. – This is a link to the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments Web page.

Interim Assessment Block Blueprints

Interim Assessments Frequently Asked Questions

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 23, 2016

Related Content

  • Digital Library State Network of Educators
    Information on the State Network of Educators (SNE), a team of educators which evaluates resources for inclusion in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium's Digital Library of formative assessment tools and practices.
  • Meet an SNE Member
    As a new attribute, CDE will be introducing one of California’s outstanding members of the Digital Library State Network of Educators (SNE) each month.
  • Smarter Balanced Digital Library
    The formative assessment component of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

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