Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Derek C. Briggs

Second Advisor

Edward W. Wiley

Third Advisor

Lorrie A. Shepard


Despite the large investment and rapid deployment of interim assessments in school districts across the nation, the variability in standards used to develop these tests, and the expectation by users that these assessments provide valid data for evaluative, predictive, and instructional uses, few studies have been conducted to examine whether specific uses of the test can be supported or justified (Perie, Marion and Gong, 2009; Shepard, 2009, 2007; Herman & Baker, 2005). This dissertation uses Kane's (2006) argument-based approach to evaluate whether instructional, predictive, and evaluative uses of interim assessments in the Denver Public Schools are supported. The evaluation consists of using both quantitative and qualitative approaches to test out the inferences and assumptions specified in the interpretive argument. While there is a clear trend in school districts across the country to use interim assessments, the key findings from this study reveal that these assessments may not always be providing valid information to drive aspects of accountability and reforms such as evaluating teacher effectiveness, school performance, and improving instruction.