Interim Assessment and Tools for Teachers Overview

Assessment Learning Network, September 29, 2020

The 2020-21 ALN sessions will explore implications for teaching and assessing in virtual environments. As educators and students embrace the responsibility to impact learning in new distance, virtual, and hybrid environments necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will amplify and enhance what we know about good assessment practice and its ability to support learning.


Our first ALN session for 2020-21 will provide an overview of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Interim Assessment and the accompanying Tools for Teachers website.

The SBAC Interim is the no-cost option offered by Michigan Department of Education to meet the interim assessment requirements in Michigan PA 149 of 2020. We’ll take a look at the purposes for interim assessment and where it fits within a district’s assessment system. We’ll also demonstrate the strategies and tools offered in the  SBAC’s accompanying Tools for Teachers website.

Presenters will briefly review Michigan Public Act 149 and list all  MDE-approved options for benchmark testing before taking a closer look at the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) interim assessment option provided at no cost by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in 2020-21. Participants will see a demonstration of what these assessment tools look like within a school and how they will be experienced by teachers using them. Presenters will clarify the purpose(s) for interim assessment, where it fits within a district’s balanced assessment system, and how it aligns with other state assessments such as M-STEP.

Presenters will demonstrate the formative assessment strategies and other practical resources available on the accompanying SBAC Tools for Teachers website. Finally, we’ll introduce additional opportunities in Michigan to deepen skillful practice of the formative assessment process.

NOTE: This examination of the no-cost SBAC option is offered as an informational opportunity only and in no way implies “endorsement” by either MAC or MDE. We encourage you to seek information about other MDE-approved options by representatives who are equipped to demonstrate their capabilities. Other approved interims include: Curriculum Associates, NWEA, and Renaissance Learning.

The session will answer the following questions:

  • What options are available to districts under PA 149 of 2020 and where do they fit within a balanced assessment system?
  • What are some high-level understandings of the SBAC interim assessments and Tools for Teachers?
  • What do SBAC interim assessments and Tools for Teachers look like to a teacher using them?
  • How might the SBAC interim assessments and formative assessment strategies in Tools for Teachers be expanded by engagement with Michigan’s Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators (FAME) program?
Event Resources

Presentation Video

Interim Assessment and Tools for Teachers Presentation (to view specific chapters, access video at

Presenter: Representatives from Michigan Assessment Consortium (MAC), Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC), Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) and Michigan Department of Education (MDE)

Jim Gullen, Assessment Consultant, MAC
Ellen Vorenkamp, Assessment Consultant for Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) and MAC
Kathy Dewsbury-White, President and CEO, MAC
Heidi Kroog, Senior Director, Instructional Supports, SBAC
Jennifer Park, DRC
Kate Cermak, Test Administration and Reporting Manager, Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability-MDE
Kimberly Young, Formative and Interim Assessment Specialist, Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability-MDE

Learning Moments

LM-Marianne Perie: Interim assessments
LM-Marianne Perie: Roles of interim assessments in a balanced assessment system
LM-Marianne Perie: What educators can learn from interim assessments
LM-Marianne Perie: Uses of interim assessment
LM-Ellen Vorenkamp: Interim assessment to gather information about student learning
LM-Ellen Vorenkamp: Tools for Teachers
LM-Ellen Vorenkamp: How Tools for Teachers might be used to support the formative assessment process

Upcoming Events