What is the Smarter Balanced Assessment System? The Smarter Balanced Assessment System is built from three components:
- Summative Assessments, which are designed for annual accountability purposes
- Interim Assessments, which are designed to support classroom teaching and student learning throughout the entire school year
- The Digital Library, which is designed to support classroom-based formative assessment processes by providing resources for teachers to hone their craft.
Pursuant to California Education Code Section 60642.6, Interim Assessments have been designed to provide the following in K-12 classrooms:
- A method to gauge your students' progress throughout the school year, as they move toward mastery of the skills that will ultimately be measured by the annual Summative Assessments
- California State Standard assessment, to be measured at strategic points throughout the school year.
Interim Assessment Blocks and Interim Comprehensive Assessments
There are two types of Interim Assessments: the Interim Assessment Blocks and the Interim Comprehensive Assessments:
Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs) focus on the smaller sets of targets, providing more detailed information for instructional purposes. The blocks are available initially as fixed forms and will build out to include a computer adaptive algorithm when sufficient numbers of items become available. The IABs yield overall information for each block.
IABs include the same question types and formats, including classroom activities and performance tasks, as the summative assessments. There are approximately 5 - 17 IABs per grade level and content area. As of the 2015-2016 school year, Interim assessment blocks may be administered an unlimited number of times.
A teacher can use an IAB's performance tasks to determine the degree of a student’s understanding before or after instruction, or a group of teachers can assess a block of students to become informed about how they are performing on a particular topic. Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs) are built on the same blueprints as the Summative Assessments. They assess the same range of standards and are administered initially in fixed form format, but will be adaptive when sufficient numbers of items become available. 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.
As of the 2015-2016 school year, LEAs may administer the Interim Comprehensive Assessments up to three times per student, in order to gauge how students might perform on the annual Summative Assessment.
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 ICA and IABs provide results that teachers and administrators can examine in relation to the CCSS and then adjust instruction accordingly.