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How Much Should Interim Assessments Guide Instruction?

A new study takes a look at the role interim assessments can play in improving student achievement. And it offers an interesting conclusion. I'll let the co-authors speak for themselves:

"We conclude that interim assessments that are designed for instructional purposes are helpful but not sufficient to inform instructional change," they say in a policy brief summarizing the study's findings. "When well-supported by their districts and schools, teachers used interim assessment data to decide what to re-teach and to whom, but not necessarily to change the ways in which they taught this content."

The study is by three scholars at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, who examined the ways teachers used interim assessments in math in nine elementary schools in Pennsylvania.

It's particularly interesting in light of the increased attention that assessments are getting in the bid to improve student achievement. There is a lot of discussion about the role that the "right" kinds of assessments can play in guiding instruction.

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