When we define ASSESSMENT we need to remember that it is derived from the Latin root assidere, which means to "sit beside".  It can can be described as the process of observing learning; describing, collecting, recording, scoring, and interpreting information about a student's or one's own learning

Learn more by viewing the Assessment Literacy Overview.

More About Common Assessment

Assessment of student learning aligns with curriculum and guides instruction.  Teams will design common formative and common summative assessments.  The criteria for common assessments are:

  • Whether summative or formative in nature, are collaboratively designed in advance of instruction by all of the teachers who will use them
  • Common assessments generate accurate data that are used to improved student learning
  • Quantity and the strategic placement of small, frequent, common formative assessments help teams identify what their learners have mastered and what they have no regarding specific learning targets s so that the teacher can make timely, targeted, and sufficient changes before the common summative assessment
  • Common summative assessments are used at the conclusion of teaching all essential standards so that teams can certify learning of all essential standards. 

1. The assessment system will consist of both summative assessment OF learning and formative assessment FOR learning.

a) Assessments of student learning should measure national and state standards and benchmarks.

b) Assessments are varied so that all students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate what they know and are able to do.

c) Assessments are used to report individual progress to students and their parents, to determine the effectiveness of curriculum and instruction, and/or to report general progress to the community for public accountability.

d) Assessment provides opportunities for comparisons of achievement by students with that of other students in the county, state and nation. 

2. Assessments will meet five standards of quality:

a) The achievement target is clearly defined and appropriate.

b) The purpose(s) for the assessment (uses and users) are clear.

c) The method of assessment is aligned with the identified target and purpose.

d) The sample of student work collected is representative and sufficient to provide a clear picture of student achievement.

e) Sources of extraneous interference are controlled (e.g., assessment readability, clarity of directions, and environmental distractions).


A high-quality assessment system relies on a variety of assessments that provide timely and understandable information to all who need it, so instructional decisions which maximize student success can be made. 

A comprehensive assessment system does the following:

1. Defines the achievement expectations to be assessed.

2. Understands who is to use assessment results and how.

3. Decides when and how achievement will be assessed.

4. Communicates results effectively to the intended users. 

 Assessment FOR Learning

When teachers use assessment FOR learning, they generate a continuous flow of formative information about student achievement during the instructional process. Such feedback provides teachers, parents and students with valuable information about a student’s strengths and places where additional instruction and scaffolding (temporary supports provided learners to promote success on the benchmarks) may be needed. Assessment FOR learning is implemented by teachers:

1. Understanding and articulating to students the achievement targets that they are to hit in advance of the teaching.

2. Informing their students about those learning goals in terms that students understand from the very beginning.

3. Becoming assessment literate so they can transform those expectations into assessment exercises and scoring procedures that accurately reflect student achievement.

4. Using classroom assessments to build students’ confidence in themselves as learners, helping them take responsibility for their own learning, which lays the foundation for lifelong learning.

5. Translating classroom assessment results into frequent, descriptive (versus judgmental) feedback for students, providing them with specific insights regarding their strengths as well as how to improve.

6. Adjusting instruction continuously based on the results of classroom assessments.

7. Engaging students in regular self-assessment with standards held constant so they can watch themselves grow over time and thus learn to take charge of their own success.

8. Involving students actively in communication with their teachers and families regarding their achievement status and improvement.

9. Making sure that students understand how the achievement targets that they strive to hit now relate to those that will come later.

 Assessment OF Learning

Assessment OF learning works to document individual or group achievement on mastery of the standards, benchmarks or grade level content expectations. It measures achievement status at a point in time for the purposes of gathering and reporting evidence of learning. This data provides the district with information necessary to make decisions about resource allocation and professional development to ensure equitable learning for all students. Examples include unit/course/grade level final exams given by classroom teachers, and state or district-mandated standardized tests. Summative assessments of learning can take the form of exams, tests, quizzes, projects, performances, interviews, reports, and oral presentations designed primarily for the purposes of educational program planning or grading. 

Systemic school reform supports the alignment of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and evaluation. If assessment is to serve its purposes, it must parallel what we expect students to know and be able to do as defined by local, state and national curriculum standards. The assessment methods and tools we use should capture authentic demonstrations of student work. This includes the things they make, their oral and written discourse, and their performances. These kinds of assessments are no longer separate events but rather integral aspects of activities that demonstrate learning. Instruction and assessment are becoming increasingly seamless. This melding will improve our ability to inform students and their parents about meaningful learning, to adjust teaching, and to modify the curriculum.

Multiple methods of assessment are used to ensure equity. A single measure is often an inadequate indicator of what a student has learned. All students should be afforded opportunities to demonstrate what they know and are able to do. Whatever measure is used to assess and evaluate student learning, it must meet established standards which are fair, objective and unbiased.

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