Frequently Asked Questions about Interim Assessments and Practice Tests
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Frequently Asked Questions about Interim Assessments and Practice Tests

What is the difference between practice tests and interim assessments, and what is the value of each?

The Practice Test allows students, parents, educators and the public to experience a full grade-level assessment and gain insight into how the Hawai’i Smarter Balanced ELA/Literacy and Mathematics Assessments will assess students’ mastery of Hawai’i’s Smarter Balanced English language arts and mathematics standards. The practice tests mirror the year-end summative assessments. Each grade-level (3 -8 and 11) computer adaptive test includes a variety of question types and difficulty levels (approximately 30 items each in ELA/literacy and mathematics) as well as an ELA performance task. The Training Tests are designed to provide students and teachers with opportunities to quickly familiarize themselves with the software and navigational tools that they will use on the upcoming Hawai’i Smarter Balanced ELA/Literacy and Mathematics Assessments. The training test is organized by grade bands (grades 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and high school) and each test contains less than 10 questions. The questions on the training test were selected to provide students with an opportunity to practice a range of question types. The training tests do not contain performance tasks. Neither the Practice nor Training Tests are scored. However, if teachers would like to use the practice tests in the classroom, they may find the answer keys on

The Interim Assessments are scored and recorded in the Centralized Reporting System. The Interim Assessments include two distinct types of tests that draw from the same bank of items and performance tasks:

The Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICAs) use the same blueprints as the revised summative assessments and assess the same standards in fixed forms. The revised ICAs include the same item types and formats as the summative assessments (the Mathematics PT has been removed) and yield results on the same vertical scale. The ICAs yield overall scale scores, overall performance level designations, and claim-level information.

Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs) and Focused Interim Assessment Blocks (FIABs) focus on smaller sets of targets and, therefore, provide more detailed information for instructional purposes. The IABs yield overall information for each block.


Do Interim Assessments need to be taken on the secure browser?

There are two modes of administering Interim Assessments: standardized administration (like the summative) and non-standardized administration (flexibly incorporated into classroom activities). If your school is administering the Interim Assessments in a standardized way, Interim Assessments use the same secure processes and assessment systems as the Summative Assessments. If your school is administering the Interim Assessments in a non-standardized way, they may use systems such as the Interim Assessment Viewing Application (AVA) to project items for instructional activities.

Keep in mind that there is only one mode of administering the Summative Assessments: standardized administration. Test security policies and procedures still apply for the Summative Assessments.


Are Interim Assessments open all the time? That is, could students take the Interim during the Summative Assessment window?

The Interim Assessment testing window is August 18, 2023 – July 23, 2024.


Are the Interim Assessments just practice tests?

No, they are real tests, scored, and recorded in the Centralized Reporting System (CRS). Interim Assessments results from past school years may also be found in CRS.


Can students take the Practice Test multiple times for practice?

Yes, Practice and Training Tests may be administered an unlimited number of times.


How much time should be devoted to practice tests?

As much time as deemed necessary per student. This should be determined on a case-by-case basis.


Are the Interim Assessments a mandatory pre-practice?

No, they are optional. They are intended to be used to provide evidence of learning, as a part of the formative assessment process.


Does the Practice Test give feedback about responses?

Yes, scoring guides are available so that student responses may be reviewed and evaluated.


Where can practice ELA Performance Tasks be found?

ELA Performance Tasks can be found in the grade level selected within the Practice and Training Tests.


Are practice and training tests available via the Secure Browser?

The Hawai'i Department of Education recommends that the Practice Tests be accessed through the HSAP Secure Browser (which may be downloaded from the HSAP portal at in order to replicate, as much as possible, actual testing conditions. The Test Administrator may create a training test session in the TA Training Site and have each student log in using his or her login information and the session ID that is generated in the TA Training Site.

Students may access the Training Tests through web browser Firefox or Chrome (Internet Explorer is not supported); however, text-to-speech and other features may not be available. No password is needed to try out the Training Tests using a web browser.