In 2008, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) launched a diagnostic assessment program in which teachers in Grades K–8 classrooms administered commercially available interim assessments to their students. In Grades K–2, teachers used mCLASS, which was administered individually using a personal digital assistant for reading and pencil and paper for mathematics; and in Grades 3–8, teachers used Acuity, which was administered in a group setting through the computer. Results from each test were available to teachers, who were expected to use them to diagnose students’ strengths and weaknesses and adjust their instruction accordingly.
American Institutes for Research and the Indiana Department of Education received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to test whether teachers’ use of interim assessments to track student progress and guide their instruction resulted in students achieving higher scores on state assessments.
The study provided mixed evidence regarding the value of using interim assessments to monitor student progress to guide instruction and increase student achievement. The study also provided deeper insight into how teachers use interim assessments.
IDOE and American Institutes for Research (AIR) collaborated to conduct two sequential experimental tests of the hypothesis that schools in which teachers who have regular and repeated access to objective data that monitor student progress during an academic will produce students who perform better on state assessments.
The study used two sequential cluster randomized controlled trials to test and replicate the test of this hypothesis.