Frequently Asked Questions about Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments
Back FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments

Are the Interim Assessments similar to the Practice Tests?

Unlike the Practice and Training Tests, the Interim Assessments are designed for formative assessment purposes and have student scores available in the Reporting System. 

Are the Interim Assessments mandatory?

Interims  are optional and are offered to districts as part of a balanced system of assessments per A.R.M. 10.56.101.

Will the ELA and math interim assessments be available throughout the summative assessment testing window?

The Smarter Balanced ELA and Math interim testing window is scheduled between September 12, 2023 to May 26, 2023.

Do students need to download the Secure Browser to take the Interim Assessments?

Interim Assessments can be administrated through the Secure Browser or Supported Internet Browser.

Is hand-scoring necessary for the ELA and Math Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs)?

Hand-scoring is not necessary for the Fixed Form Test part of the ICA, but it is necessary for the Performance Task part. Because both parts are necessary for a student to receive a score, hand-scoring is necessary for ICAs because of Performance Task.

Who conducts the hand-scoring for the Interim Assessments?


Hand scoring for the Interim Assessments is conducted at the local level; therefore, individual school staff needs to be trained to hand-score the various component of the Interim Assessment using the Reporting System.

How are teachers trained to conduct the hand-scoring for the Interim Assessments?

The Reporting System user guide and training module are available on the portal. Also, there are training guides and exemplars for each item located in the Reporting System and available for download within TIDE under General Resources.

Is the turn-around time for Interim Assessment scores dependent on completing and submitting the hand-scored items?

Yes. The turn-around time to see Interim Assessment scores in the Reporting System will depend on when the school or test administrator completes the hand-scoring process. While some tests are fully machine scored, there are some items that still require teacher handscoring within the Reporting System.

Why do some interim assessments still require handscoring by a teacher?

Smarter Balanced and Cambium Assessment, Inc. (CAI) continue to work to increase the number of items that can be scored through automated, or machine scoring, in order to relieve the burden of scoring on teachers. For items that continue to require handscoring, more data is required for collection to accurately train the machine scoring engine. CAI will not transition an item to machine scoring until there is sufficient data to confidently and consistently train the scoring engine to provide reliable student scores.

What is the difference between the Interim Assessment Performance Task (PT) and Fixed Form Tests?

The Interim Assessments are comprised of two parts for both English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics: Fixed Form Tests and Performance Task (PT). Smarter Balanced recommends that students take the Fixed Form Tests and PT items on separate days. For each content area, Smarter Balanced also recommends that students begin with the Fixed Form Tests items, followed by the PT. Districts/Schools may opt to administer in a different order if needed.