Learner Services: Staff Development - Assessment
612 E. Bethany Drive, Allen, TX 75002
Beth Nicholas - Assistant Superintendent
Lisa Casto - Director of Staff Development
Assessment is an integral part of instruction, providing information about how well students are progressing toward state standards. Standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment are interwoven in the learning process, and each informs the others. Standards and curriculum are the what – they define what we expect students to know and be able to do. Instruction is the how – it provides the specific learning experiences and ways of differentiating those experiences to scaffold student learning. Assessment is the how well – it gauges the attainment of learning to inform instructional practices and curriculum. A balanced approach to assessment includes a continuum of strategies within a range of frequency and purpose.
Formative assessment occurs continuously in the classroom, both within and between lessons. Information is used to adjust teaching strategies. Students receive frequent and meaningful feedback on their performances. Examples of formative assessment strategies include teacher observation, discussion, questioning, and non-graded class work. The focus of formative assessment is to determine what learning comes next for a student. Many teams write common formative assessments to assess learning prior to teaching. The diagram below shows the Allen ISD CFA cycle.
Benchmark assessment occurs within, between, and among instructional units. Information is used to identify strengths and gaps in curriculum and instruction. Grade-level curriculum may be refined, and teachers may modify instruction for student groups based on their progress. These assessments might be teacher-developed or district-developed products, The focus of benchmark assessment is to determine how student groups are progressing or how well a program is working.
Large-scale assessment occurs annually or less-frequently. Information is used to develop strategic, long-term evaluation of curriculum and programming based on trends over time, and to monitor state, district, and school progress. Assessment instruments and procedures are standardized so that comparisons can be made across student groups. Examples of large-scale assessment include the TAKS,STAAR, EOC and AP® exams. The focus of large-scale assessment is to determine how schools, districts, and states are progressing.
These assessment strategies provide information at differing intervals and for different purposes. Each one provides a different perspective, and one cannot take the place of another. Together, they provide a balanced approach to assessment that informs decisions at the classroom, school, district, state, and national levels.