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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, designed to support teaching and learning throughout the year; and Tools for Teachers, 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 all local educational agencies. The interim assessments are specifically designed to provide meaningful information for gauging student progress throughout the year toward mastery of the skills measured by the summative assessments.

There are three types of interim assessments:

  1. Interim Comprehensive Assessment (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.
2020–21 Interim Comprehensive Assessment Blueprints

Interim Comprehensive Assessment Blueprint for ELA External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Interim Comprehensive Assessment Blueprint for Mathematics External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

  1. Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs) focus on smaller sets of targets than ICAs. They are intended to provide educators the ability to check where students are at that moment in time, and use results to determine next steps for instruction.
2020–21 Interim Assessment Blocks Blueprints

Interim Assessment Blocks Blueprint for ELA External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Interim Assessment Blocks Blueprint for Mathematics External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

  1. Focused IABs assess no more than three assessment targets to provide educators with an even more detailed understanding of student learning.
2020–21 Focused Interim Assessment Blocks Blueprints

Focused Interim Assessment Blocks Blueprint for ELA External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Focused Interim Assessment Blocks Blueprint for Mathematics External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

For further information on the interim assessments, please refer to the related resources, online tools, and frequently asked questions below:

Related Resources

Online Tools

  • Smarter Content Explorer External link opens in new window or tab. – This user-friendly web tool combines the information provided in the Smarter Balanced Content and Item Specifications—key resources used in test and item development—into an easy-to-use search interface. This tool can help teachers better understand how test questions are designed to provide evidence of what students know and can do.
  • Sample Items Website External link opens in new window or tab. – Explore sample test questions to understand how Smarter Balanced measures college and career ready content.
  • The California Educator Reporting System (CERS) Sandbox External link opens in new window or tab. – The California Educator Reporting System Sandbox is a non-secure training and demonstration environment that uses fictitious computer-generated data.
  • The Smarter Annotated Response Tool External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; New 20-Nov-2020) –The Smarter Annotated Response Tool helps educators understand how student writing is scored on the Smarter Balanced assessments and supports writing instruction in the classroom.
  • Tools for Teachers External link opens in new window or tab. (Account Required for full access.) – The formative assessment component of the Smarter Balanced assessment system. This website features educator created lessons, activities, strategies and professional development, with a focus on using the formative assessment process during instruction in the classroom. There are two resources available to anyone on the landing page, but full access to this website requires an account. LEA staff members may get a Tools for Teachers account either through self-registration or through their LEA CAASPP coordinator.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 30, 2020
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