Commercially Created Interim Assessments Are Everywhere!? How and Why States and Districts Are Buying and Using Them, and Why Schools and Districts Should Focus on the Instructional Usefulness of the Assessments

On June 18, 2024, the FairTest Assessment Policy Group hosted a webinar and discussion on the topic of interim assessments. Commercially created and district or school purchased interim assessments like iReady, Map Growth, and Star, have proliferated nationally and represent a considerable investment of school time and resources. While they are sold as informing instructions, in reality they are undertaken by teachers and students for accountability and district compliance purposes.

The webinar contains presentations by Dr. Carla Evans of the Center for Assessment on the instructional usefulness of these interim assessments and evidence from Oregon where a state mandated audit was undertaken of the prevalence and uses of these commercial assessments. Districts in Oregon spend millions of dollars on these assessments which, just at the district level take around 15 hours for elementary, 17 hours for middle, and 18 hours for high school annually.

We also heard from Dr. Susan Lyons of Lyons Consulting on the process districts use to select these interim assessments and how the selection process invariably does not focus on connections to curriculum or instructional need. She outlines considerations districts should undertake in order insure assessments are instructionally useful.

The Webinar/discussion can be found in the Zoom recording below.
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