Assessment is the way we document what students have learned. In the last 20 years, the field of education has learned a lot about assessment.
The biggest news from research is that the way in which we assess students and involve them in that process can significantly impact their learning. Using formative assessment in the classroom provides feedback that allows students to correct their misconceptions and figure out their next steps in learning.
Another key idea with regard to assessment involves the distinction between student achievement and student growth. One of the obvious ways we measure our progress as a district is by looking at the achievement of our students. Sometimes this is measured in terms of how well they perform compared to other students; other times it is measured in terms of how they perform against a particular level of the standards. But we are also challenged to think about our success in terms of whether we help each student make a year’s worth of growth based on where they are when they begin the school year. This is important to us because many of our students score very well and have high achievement. We want to know whether we are making a difference for those students as well as students who are on grade level or even below grade level.