One of the biggest trends in education these days is something called a Common Assessment (or Interim Assessment). These kinds of tests are given by districts and charter schools throughout the nation as a way to ensure that all scholars are learning at the pace needed for them to be successful on state mandated end of year tests.
The testing schedules are different everywhere – some are given every 6 weeks, some at the end of each quarter, and still others once a semester. It doesn’t matter what the schedule is, there are three things all good common assessment systems have in common.
- The common assessment tests the standards that a scholar should have learned up to that point in the year. This kind of standard mastery information is invaluable for teachers and scholars alike. It allows teachers to implement even more targeted instruction, and scholars gain the ability to really own their learning.
- Common assessments can be used to project how a scholar will perform on future tests, like STAAR. We’ve given enough common assessments that we can identify scholars who need intervention beyond what happens in the classroom in order to be successful.
- Timing strategies used on state tests like STAAR can be practiced on common assessments. While common assessments are shorter than STAAR, the amount of time per question is pretty similar, so scholars can get an idea of what taking STAAR will be like.