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    Improving Student Outcomes with Interim Assessments
    Posted on 04/19/2018
    Two students write at a desk in the classroom.

    Improving Student Outcomes with Interim Assessments

    Seattle Public Schools is currently testing an interim assessment tool for mathematics and English language arts (ELA) for students in grades 3- 11 and is seeking board approval for interim assessments districtwide.

    What are interim assessments?

    In the classroom, educators use various instructional indicators to monitor student progress and check for student understanding. Such indicators range from observations, checking for understanding or other classroom-based assessments such as end of unit tests.

    Interim assessments, administered periodically at set intervals during the school year, evaluate where students are in their learning progress toward state learning standards. They are used in addition to the other assessments that measure student progress toward meeting academic goals. Interim assessments enable educators to effectively use instructional time by gauging student progress toward mastery of skills and which standards require additional instruction.

    This school year, 20 schools across the district are field testing interim assessments, aligned to the state Smarter Balanced Assessment, for math and ELA. The participating schools are: Boren STEM K-8, Broadview Thomson K-8, Cedar Park Elementary, Cleveland High, Dunlap Elementary, Eckstein Middle, Hawthorne Elementary, Aki Kurose Middle, Lawton Elementary, Licton Springs K-8, Loyal Heights Elementary, North Beach Elementary, Olympic View Elementary, Orca K-8, Rainier View Elementary, Chief Sealth High, TOPS K-8, Van Asselt Elementary, West Seattle Elementary and Whitman Middle.

    Why give students interim assessments?

    Regular use of high-quality assessments is correlated with higher student achievement. Interim assessments will assist schools by providing data to drive instructional decision-making and monitor the progress of students. It also serves as a tool to identify students in need of additional academic support.

    Using assessments aligned to state standards, as part of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), is a strategy we are using to eliminate opportunity gaps for students of color.

    Interim assessments enable educators to learn what skills students have mastered and which require additional instruction so teachers can better align supports to the needs of each and every student. Districtwide interim assessments will allow for better sharing of instructional practices that successfully boost student outcomes for Seattle's diverse student body and lead to better outcomes for students of color in our district.

    Seattle Public Schools Interim Assessments:

    • Mimic the state summative assessment, Smarter Balanced Assessment, in rigor and scope.
    • Allow for periodic understanding of the standards a student has mastered and where they need more support.
    • Help teachers know each student by their story, strength and need.
    • School administrators and teachers can exchange instructional strategies across classrooms to address each student's unique needs.

    What is the current status?

    In the schools that are assisting with the field test, approximately 8,000 students in grades 3rd through 11th grade completed two of the three 50-minute interim assessments.

    As part of the 2017-18 school year field test, the Student Support Services team met regularly with the school teams using the interim assessments to review the process, analyze data and gather feedback. Based on educator feedback, the recommendation to the board was to expand the use of math interim assessments and conduct a second field test of custom ELA items in Fall 2018 to better meet the needs of Seattle Public School's students.

    On April 25, the school board will take action on implementation of the districtwide benchmark interim assessments.

    Visit our Testing and Assessments webpage for more information about assessments at Seattle Public Schools.