While parents everywhere are busy getting into the fall routine, once the bus pulls away from the curb, their role in their child’s education is by no means over. There’s homework, of course, and parent-teacher conferences, that all take effort, but one thing parents today need to consider is their own understanding of assessment.
As important stakeholders in the education ecosystem, parents have a vital role to play. For a parent, knowing how their student is progressing in school and how they can support that growth is so important. Yet very few parents really understand what kinds of assessments are taking place and how they intersect with their student’s education.
While state summative assessments are relatively commonplace, there are numerous other assessments that can take place to help gauge learning, including formative assessment (as we’ve blogged here about on numerous occasions) and interim assessments, like MAP® Growth™, that we’ve also touched on.
But do parents know and understand enough to ask the right questions about assessment? Here is my recommendation for what parents could ask teachers so that they can best support their student’s learning:
- How do you measure my child’s learning in your classroom? Look for evidence of multiple ways to show evidence of learning.
- When will my child’s progress be measured again, or when can I get an update on his growth?
- How is my child doing in comparison to grade level expectations? Look for your child to be compared to grade level expectations, not to other children. Look for a variety of assessments to measure your child’s academic growth.
- I know that my child is working above grade level; what will he be working on to make sure he continues growing?
- I know that my child is working below grade level; what will he be working on to make sure he is growing towards a mastery of grade-level standards?
- Does my child need any extra help in any specific areas? Look for a teacher to provide evidence that your child needs extra help and expect specificity.
- How can I help my child’s academic growth from home?
- What types of strategies are the teachers using that I may be able to reinforce at home?
Armed with these smart questions, parents can better equip themselves on how to ask educators about assessments – and understand the information that is being shared with them – so they can support their child’s education.