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What is an interim assessment?

By now, you’re probably familiar with formative assessments and summative assessments.

Similar, but also different, are interim assessments. An interim assessment is a test administered at different intervals during the school year to check students’ grasp on content and guide future instruction. They typically fall between formative and summative assessments during the school year.

How does an interim assessment differ from other types of assessments?

An interim assessment is similar to a formative assessment in the sense that it helps paint a portrait of what students know and understand as well as topics they are having difficulty grasping. However, the two differ because schools, districts, and states can use the data from an interim assessment to measure academic progress. That is not the case with formative assessments.

Interim assessments are sometimes called “benchmark assessments,” but there is a slight difference. Benchmark assessments are given periodically, whereas interim assessments don’t necessarily follow a schedule.

What makes a quality interim assessment?

An interim assessment should provide valid, reliable results that are easy to understand. They should act as an extension of learning for students and not a time-out from learning. With the data from a quality interim assessment, you should be able to:

  • Measure your students’ growth
  • Identify patterns in your students’ learning habits
  • See your students’ progress toward crucial milestones

The number of interim assessments you give your students is up to you. The most important idea is that you receive valuable information about your students in a quick, simple manner.

Did you know Renaissance Star Assessments are a type of interim assessment? Renaissance Star 360® checks students’ growth toward goals, identifies the skills students are ready to learn, and helps forecast their proficiency on state tests (each of these are crucial components in high-quality interim assessments).

Why does it matter, anyway?

It can be tricky to keep all the different types of assessments straight, but like most assessments, interim assessments are meant to help identify obstacles and measure your students’ growth. Essentially, interim assessments are another way to help your students grow as learners. By providing consistent feedback from interim assessments, along with providing your students the help they need, you can maximize their growth throughout school and beyond.

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