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California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress

Common Core Connect - Interim Assessment Informational Page


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.

The Interim Assessments are Optional


Although the Interim Assessments are optional, it is recommended that teachers administer them throughout the school year. Interim Assessments enable teachers to check each student's progress, providing actionable information to inform ongoing classroom instruction.  Taking an Interim Assessment helps students meet the challenge of college- and career-ready California State Standards.

Grade Levels to be Assessed

While Interim Assessments are designed for students in grades 3–8 and high school, tests should be chosen based on the purpose of the testing event. Interim assessments designed for any grade can now be administered to students in any grade (Note: this is a change as of the 2015-2016 school year).

Image courtesy lauracarroll.com


Not Secure and Not Timed

Interim Assessment items are not deemed to be as secure as official Summative Assessments; that said, they should not be shared publicly.  Teachers or Test Administrators can review test items as well as their students’ responses to the interim items, in order to aid in instruction and understanding.

The number of items on each Interim Assessment can vary by grade level and content area tested, and the amount of time it will take for students to complete any particular interim assessment will vary.  Because Interim Assessments are not timed, teachers should ensure they set aside an ample block of time to assess their students properly using the system.

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.


Administering Interim Assessments


Interim Assessments are administered in the same way as Summative Assessments. The Test Administrator (TA) must use the Test Administrator Interface and the student must log onto the test through the secure browser.


Scoring Interim Assessments

The majority of responses on Interim Assessments are machine scored - same as with Summative Assessments.  Open-ended responses are handscored by a Test Administrator, using the Interim Handscoring Module. Machine-scored results will be held until all open-ended portions of the test have been handscored and submitted. Once all results are in, they will be combined to generate a student report.


Interim Assessment Resources


For a full and current listing of Interim Assessment resources, please visit the CDE Website.


NEW! Interim Reporting System QuickStart Guide





Additional Resources

ICAs Table of Hand Scoring Items and Total Number of Questions Per Test – will assist LEA CAASPP coordinators, site coordinators, and test administrators in planning for the administration of tests, along with local hand scoring of the Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs).
IABs Table of Hand Scoring Requirements by Subject and Grade – intended to assist LEAs in planning for test administration and local hand scoring of Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs). 
Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Blocks Availability by Grade – table listing the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments available for each grade level.

Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments Estimated Times for Hand Scoring Items – table describing a range of estimated times required to complete the hand scoring portion of the interim assessments.