The summer is a great time for educators and school administrators to catch up on things that might have otherwise taken a backseat during the school year. One of those items might be evaluating current assessment tools and determining what makes a strong student growth assessment.
Being able to demonstrate academic growth to state school boards, as well as parents, is important, as is meeting district goals. To that end, choosing the best growth measurement tool is paramount, for the school, teacher, and student alike. Here are 10 questions to help you evaluate student growth assessments:
Understanding Clarity of Purpose
- Be clear about why you are assessing – are you measuring growth over time to inform instruction for all students? To communicate progress? For program evaluation?
Quality of Data and Assessment
- Does the test provide accurate scores for every student, regardless of achievement level, that measure the desired target?
- Does the way the assessment questions are aligned to the standards make sense both from a content and depth of knowledge perspective?
- Has the assessment scale been validated and stabilized over time?
- Will the assessment provide growth norms that allow comparison between similar students? Groups? Schools? Districts?
- 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
- Have you considered how this assessment will complement your existing testing program?
- Will you assess at reasonable intervals throughout the academic year in order to gain better insight on instructional impact?
- Can the assessment data efficiently provide both immediate insight and long-term growth data?
What about the Student?
- 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 students are in their learning. The assessment 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?