10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Student Growth Assessments

10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Student Growth AssessmentsIn a recent blog – Fuel for Thought – Seven Education Tools and Resources to Help Teachers Plan – we shared some useful tools that teachers and administrators can use to help prepare for the second half of the school year. One of those was a list of 10 questions to ask when evaluating student growth measurement tools, which we thought would be worthwhile sharing as a blog.

Teachers do heroic work that seems all but invisible in the race to proficiency. In this climate, being able to demonstrate academic growth has never been more crucial, as the scrutiny schools withstand intensifies. To that end, choosing the best growth measurement tools is paramount, for the school, teacher and student alike. Here are 10 questions to best evaluate student growth assessments:

Understanding Clarity of Purpose

1. Be clear why you are assessing – are you measuring growth over time to inform instruction for all students? Communicate progress? For teacher and principal evaluation? For program evaluation?

Quality of Data and Assessment

2. Does the test provide accurate scores for every student, regardless of achievement level, that measure the student’s desired target?

3. Does the way the assessment questions are aligned to the standards make sense both from a content and depth of knowledge perspective?

4. Has the assessment scale been validated and stabilized over time?

5. Will the assessment provide growth norms that allow comparison between similar students? Groups? Schools? Districts?

6. Are the norms updated on a regular basis? Were the assessment items used on the test field tested? Have they been evaluated for bias?

Using the Data

7. Have you considered how this assessment will complement your existing testing program?

8. Will you assess at reasonable intervals throughout the academic year in order to gain better insight on instructional impact?

9. Can the assessment data efficiently provide both immediate insight and long term growth data?

What about the Student?

10. How can you use the assessment data to engage students with learning goals, and how can families participate in supporting those learning goals?

Student assessment is important – whether it be formative, interim or summative – in understanding where they are in their learning. The data can be used to adjust teaching, thereby helping students advance in their learning, but the right assessment is crucial. What other evaluation criteria do you use when determining the right assessments to use?