Durham, NC, July 12, 2022 — EdReports, a nonprofit that provides free reviews of instructional materials, and the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (Center for Assessment) , an organization focused on improving the quality of educational assessment and accountability systems, announced today its collaboration and plans to review commercially-available interim assessment products.

As EdReports has done with instructional materials, these reviews seek to empower local districts by providing information on the quality of interim assessments as a tool to inform instructional decision making. 

“High-quality assessments are more important than ever given disruptions to instruction students experienced and continue to experience during the pandemic, and the need to understand and address the effects on learning as a result,” said Eric Hirsch, Executive Director of EdReports. “There is an imperative to understand whether these interim assessments fully assess standards, have research to back their design claims, and support teachers in adapting their instruction to meet the needs of all students.”

Erika Landl, Senior Associate at the Center for Assessment, and one of the lead developers of the review process noted, “school and district leaders need a trusted and independent source of public information to help them determine whether or not interim assessments should be included in their assessment systems and, if so, which ones would best align to their specific needs. We are excited to extend EdReports’ important work in curriculum reviews to help open the black box of interim assessment technical quality.” 

The first set of interim assessment reviews are slated for release in early 2023. Two products have been confirmed for review: 

  • i-Ready Diagnostic (Curriculum Associates)
  • Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Blocks (SmarterBalanced)

“We reached out to several assessment providers and applaud these publishers for stepping forward to have their assessment products reviewed—it’s a testament to their commitment to ensuring that educators have reliable data to gauge where students are at,” said Courtney Allison, EdReports Chief Academic Officer. “We all share a common goal of providing educators with a better understanding of how they can use existing assessments to better target student needs.”

The review process for assessments will be based on the uses publishers indicate their tests were designed to serve. The evaluation process includes three parts, and a final report including information and evidence for each part of the review. Specific review criteria includes:

  1. Alignment of the assessment to the expectations of college and career-ready standards and evidence that the assessment is fair and accessible for all students in the intended test-taking population.
  2. Evidence of technical quality based on the types of information vendors provide related to student performance (i.e., achievement, predictive, sub-scores, and growth) and the ways in which they intend for that information to be used.
  3. Information for stakeholders about score reports and supports that assure assessment data is interpreted correctly and appropriately for use in multiple contexts.

The collaboration between EdReports and the Center for Assessment leverages each organization’s experience supporting educators and students around critical content and learning needs. “Since the review includes publisher claims of things such as reliability  and validity that require psychometric expertise, we are excited to engage national experts and partner with the Center for Assessment,” said Allison. “The combination of educators and assessment experts is critical to providing the information in our reports that districts will need to make smart purchasing decisions if they consider an interim assessment product.”

When asked about the review process, Landl remarked, “content review teams will include educators reviewing the alignment of assessment items to standards and psychometricians reviewing the quality of evidence to support publisher claims about how the tests should be used. The combined educator and expert synthesis will provide a more complete understanding of each assessment.”

For more information, visit www.edreports.org or www.nciea.org

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