Do Interim Tests Help?
You know the drill. We have to take the Big Standardized Tests in the spring, so in the fall and winter, maybe multiple times, we're going to take the pre-test, or practice test, or interim test, or testing test test.
The plan is that this will get the students ready for the BS Test (because it is such an artificial, inauthentic task that it doesn't resemble any other activity except taking similar inauthentic pre-test practice interim testy test tests). Even more importantly, in some schools, it will let us target the students based on how likely they are to make us look bad come test time.
Procedures vary by school, but a popular approach is to sort students into three categories: Don't Have To Worry About Them, Hopeless, and Maybe If We Really Hammer These Kids We Can Get Them To Squeak Through. The first two groups get little or no attention, and the third group gets "extra attention" which may take the form of anything form extra drill in math and language class all the way up to being pulled out of non-test classes so that their whole day can be devoted to test prep.
There is a cottage industry in pre-test practice interim testing tests. My district used to use the 4sight tests, until we noticed that their ability to predict BS Test results was only slightly better than reading the bumps on a dancing toad under a full moon. These days we're dabbling in NWEA voodoo, so we'll see.
Well, maybe we'll see. After a decade of interim testing, plenty of teachers have an opinion about CURMUDGUCATION: Do Interim Tests Help?: