We believe it is important for parents to understand the variety of ways we assess student achievement and progress. This includes a clear explanation of the types, purposes, and timing of our assessments, as well as how individual students are progressing towards grade level standards and demonstrating growth across the year.
Teachers utilize three types of assessments throughout the year: formative, summative, and benchmark.
These are conducted by teachers throughout the learning process to determine students’ understanding and attainment of lesson objectives and/or individual student learning goals, in order to modify teaching and learning activities. Some examples include questioning, teacher observations of student work and peer discussions, written responses, and presentations.
This type of assessment focuses on students’ mastery of a particular unit or topic after instruction. End-of-chapter tests, midterms, finals, and standardized tests (Smarter Balanced Assessments) are examples of summative assessments.
Benchmark assessments provide another way we assure that students in kindergarten through grade 8 are meeting grade level benchmarks and demonstrating growth at specific times during the year in reading and mathematics. This information is used as indicators of whether a student is likely to be “on track” for reading and mathematics based on national norms or may need some additional help, as part of our RTI (Response to Intervention) process. These assessments are not used for grading purposes and are one piece of information that provides the school team with a snapshot of a child’s performance at one moment in time.
We are continually working to ensure that each child is reaching his or her potential, that parents understand how we measure progress, and what parents can do to support their children at home.