Assessments matter. Those in our classrooms, teachers and students alike, have long known that high-quality assessments are of real value, particularly when they are used to support student learning. And a new study conducted by Grunwald Associates for NWEA has reinforced that belief.
In Make Assessment Matter: Students and Educators Want Tests that Support Learning, more than 2,000 educators and students in grades 4-12 expressed their views on the proper role of assessment.
Make Assessment Matter is particularly important because, for the first time, it highlights the perceptions of the very students who are taking the tests and whose data we use to measure the effectiveness of teachers, principals, schools, districts and more. It is the student’s data.
What did those students say?
- 94 percent of students agree that tests are important for understanding what they are learning, getting into a good college and knowing whether they will move on to the next grade.
- 95 percent of students agree that tests are “very” or “somewhat” important for helping them and their teachers know if they are making progress in their learning during the year and for getting into a college.
- 81 percent of students think student test scores reflect how well teachers teach.
- Nearly 60 percent (58%) of high school students believe college entrance exams accurately predict college success.
And despite all the attention on assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, 80 percent of students say they have not heard of new state accountability tests.
The study also found that African-American, Asian and Hispanic students are significantly more likely than white students to believe that classroom and state accountability tests are very important to their futures (getting into the next grade, college or the military). 64 percent of African-American students, 65 percent of Asian students and 61 percent of Hispanic students believe state accountability tests are very important to their futures, compared to just 47 percent of white students.
When it comes to assessment, students spoke loud and clear. They want to have a greater say in the education process – and this includes testing. They feel assessment has value. They believe it is a good indicator of what they are learning and how well a teacher teaches. They want to succeed, and they believe good tests can help them get there.