With Smarter Balanced summative assessments only a few short months away, many are considering whether to invest time and effort into utilizing Practice and Training Tests and/or Interim Assessments. Key to the decision is understanding the distinction between them.
PRACTICE & TRAINING TESTS are available to provide students, families and teachers familiarity with the format for the Smarter Balanced summative assessment. They include exposure to the system, functionality, and item types that will be used in the year-end assessment. The tests are not intended to guide classroom instruction. Both “guest mode” and “secure mode” access are available.
- Practice Tests provide opportunity to experience a range of grade specific item types (as well as performance tasks) similar in format and structure to the Smarter Balanced Summative assessments.
- Training Tests combine sample items for grade level bands (3-5, 6-8, HS) and subject areas providing opportunity to quickly become familiar with the software and interface features that will be used in the Summative assessments.
INTERIM ASSESSMENTS offer the formative opportunity to check student progress and help teachers plan and improve instruction. They include two options:
- Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs)
- projected availability, Jan. 6, 2015
- mirrors year-end assessment in scope & topics
- reporting is the same as the summative assessment
- yield overall scale scores, overall performance level designations, and claim-level information
- non-adaptive at this time (until item counts are adequate)
2) Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs)
- projected availability, Jan. 27, 2015
- focus on smaller sets of related standards (the # of Blocks available varies by content area and grade level)
- provide more detailed information for instructional purposes
- available either as fixed forms or with use of a computer adaptive algorithm
- individual student scores available for each block
Both Interim Comprehensive Assessments and Interim Assessment Blocks:
- are administered online and include the same item types and formats, including performance tasks, as the summative assessments
- offer flexibility to re-administer any number of times (however, districts and schools are urged to weigh time, purpose and how data will be used to improve teaching and learning)
- include electronic scoring for most items, however for items requiring hand scoring, this will be a local responsibility for Interim Assessments. Rubrics and training are provided online as part of the system.
- will show results reported as “Below Standard,” “At/Near Standard,” and “Above Standard”
Knowing these differences between options can help with decision making about use of these resources. If the purpose is to expose students to the testing platform, Practice and Training Tests may meet the need. However, if the goal is to receive specific feedback about student performance linked to the standards, investing time in the Interim Assessments may be the right choice. If choosing the latter, an additional consideration is whether the Comprehensive or the Assessment Blocks will be most useful.
Access and further information about PRACTICE & TRAINING TESTS and INTERIM ASSESSMENTS is available on the Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) Portal: http://wa.portal.airast.org/
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