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This FAQ is a work in progress. Will be updated as more questions come in!
It is interim assessment season, so what does that mean for us? Here is a quick and dirty FAQ on Interim Assessments.
What are Interim Assessments?
According to the TEA, Interim Assessments are optional, online assessments that align to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and that help educators monitor student progress and predict student performance on STAAR. These assessments will be available at no cost to districts and open-enrollment charter schools, and they are not tied to accountability.
The TEA has created these assessments to mirror the STAAR and provide information to campuses to permit remediation before the actual STAAR. No matter what your school may tell you, these assessments are about nothing but STAAR. They were created solely to prep for STAAR and to permit schools to plan more STAAR related interventions.
If the TEA says they are optional, does that mean we can opt out?
You can opt out because you are the parent and get to decide what is appropriate for your child and what is not. They are optional in the sense that there is no requirement that districts administer any or all of the Interim Assessments. If the district does give them, they are not required to assess every student or even a percentage of them. There is no consequence of penalty to the school or district if kids do not take the interim assessment. Some districts still try to deny parental opt out of interim assessments, but there is no legal basis for that denial.
Are the Interim Assessments as bad as STAAR?
Yes and no. They are every bit as bad in their design and inadequate accommodations, because they are designed to mimic STAAR. They are not as bad in that students, teachers, and voters are not impacted by Interim Assessment results.
Can I see my child’s interim assessment?
If you choose to let your child participate for some reason, your parental right of access applies to the interim assessment as it would any other assessment or part of the curriculum. Chapter 26 provides the specific rights.
Can we opt out?
There is no basis for school to deny an opt out for the interim assessments. You may want to anticipate objections and request something specific like working on assignments in the library or helping out in the office or a lower grade. This may overcome the “we don’t have the resources” objection some schools make.
If the school denies our opt out, what can we do?
File a grievance. Or just don’t participate. We’ve had some reports that click through and submit does not work on the interims, which is too bad because otherwise it would be good Opt Out practice also! Since I never want to encourage random answering or all A/all B etc, I suggest sitting silently and not participating. Of course you could also stay home, but if you are saving days up, just not participating on interims may be better than being absent.