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What is Interim Assessment?

There are three types of classroom assessments: Formative, Interim, and Summative.

Interim assessment is designed to measure students’ progress toward content benchmarks at a grade level, given during predetermined points of time and provides an estimate of achievement.

Typically, most school districts use interim assessment two or three times a year. Title 1 schools are generally required to use this type of assessment three to five times per year.

There are a variety of viewpoints on the subject of Interim Assessment from researchers and authors with regard to its implementation and its value for increasing student achievement.

  • According to W. James Popham in his book, Transformative Assessment (ASCD, 2008), "…there is no evidence that these district developed or state-developed assessments boost student achievement".
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    Since district interim assessments are based on the district’s assessment timeline, and are not directly related to the content being taught, at any given time, it may not be as powerful as formative assessment to affect student learning. Teachers are neither receiving real-time feedback about their instruction, so they can make adjustments during a unit of study, nor are teachers providing real-time feedback to their students, so the students can adjust their strategies while they are learning.
  • According to a Phi Delta Kappn article written by Kim Marshall, "Interim assessments, done right, can have a ripple effect: they can fuel improvements in every other stage of the teaching/learning process... They can help teachers plan better, teach better, use in-the-moment assessments better, and make powerful use of interim data to help close achievement gaps during each year."
  • Another view of Interim Assessment comes from Paul Bambrick-Santoyo the author of Driven By Data. He believes that if Interim Assessments meet the following:
  • Implemented every 6-8 weeks within grade levels
  • Are aligned with standards,
  • Include review material
  • Are deeply analyzed
  • Are turned into an action plan

then they will provide the foundation for data-driven instruction and greater student achievement.

Interim assessment has a few benefits such as:

  • Report to district and state levels
  • Report school level scores at predetermined points of time
  • Create action plans based on analysis of interim data
  • Use the collected student evidence:
  • For report cards
  • For Response To Intervention (RTI)

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