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Assessment

BOE Guidelines

  Parkway Board of Education Policy

ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDELINES
STUDENT ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT

8/28/2008

 

Philosophy

The development, selection, administration, and use of assessments shall be guided by the following beliefs about assessment:

1. Assessment measures what is valued in student learning.

2. Assessment practice is driven by the belief that every person has a continuous capacity to learn.

3. Sound assessment is essential to high-quality instruction. It should inform instruction, result in improved teaching and learning, and therefore, be integrated with instruction.

4. All assessment users must have the opportunity and resources needed to develop, select, and use sound, instructionally relevant assessment.

5. All assessments used will meet five standards of quality. They will:

        a. Arise from and reflect a clear and specific group

         b. Serve a clearly articulated purpose.

         c.  Rely on a proper assessment method

         d. Sample the group appropriately; and

          e. To the extent possible, control for extraneous factors that can cause the mis-             measurement of achievement

6. A variety of assessment methods are necessary, acceptable, and encouraged in measuring student achievement in relation to the district’s learning standards.

7. Evidence from assessment activities should yield valid inferences about students’ learning.

8. Whenever possible, assessments should be designed to serve multiple purposes and coordinated across levels of decision making to promote efficient, cost-effective practices, data democracy, and consistency in communication.

Definitions

1. Assessment of Learning (summative):

    These are assessments that happen after instruction to determine if learning occurred. They are used to make statements of student learning status at a point in time, such as when making student referrals or making decisions about programs. Such summative assessments may include college admissions and other national tests, state assessments, local common assessments, unit final exams, culminating projects, grades, progress reports and report cards.

2. Assessment for learning (formative or informative):


    These occur while instruction is still underway. They are used to identify student needs, plan next steps in instruction, provide students with feedback, such as common and classroom assessments, to help them improve the quality of their work, and help them see and feel in control of their journey to success. On these occasions, the grading function is typically laid aside. Therefore, formative assessments are about student growth, not about accountability for reporting purposes.

Standards of Practice

1. Educational Standards:

    Alignment of learning activities, teaching strategies and assessment practices with the district’s standards is essential for effective education. Assessment processes should reflect the subject area content and curriculum. All assessments should have clear purposes and incorporate a variety of assessment methods to evaluate accurately students’ knowledge and skills. These methods should include selected response, constructed response, and performance-based measures such as observations, performance events, products, portfolios, self-assessment and personal communication.

2. Openness:

    Assessment purposes, procedures, and results (within the guidelines established by FERPA), should be communicated in ways that are understandable and useful to students, parents, and the community. Criteria in grading classroom assessments will be clear, appropriate, published, consistently applied, and understood by those affected. Students should be shown examples of exemplary work that can be used models for their own work.

3. Equity and Diversity:


    Assessment systems and all their parts, including standards, tasks, procedures, and uses, must be fair to all students and non-discriminatory. Assessments must respect cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds and allow for diversity in learning styles and abilities. Equitable opportunities for limited English proficient students must be provided.

4. Variety of Methods:

    An assessment strategy using multiple methods is essential in order to measure with confidence student learning across the district’s learning standards. A body of evidence, many measures taken across time, is required to adequately sample student achievement on the standards. Assessment design should reflect the developmental needs and learning styles of students.

5. Repeated Opportunities:

    Students integrate new abilities when they have repeated opportunities to experience, practice, demonstrate, and assess their competency in varied contexts and levels. On some measures, students should receive multiple opportunities to improve the quality of their work before it becomes “final.”

6. Authentic Experiences:

    Some assessments should require performances that are related to those required in actual or anticipated situations and should require students to engage in the thoughtful application of knowledge and skills to real issues and problems.

7. Student Involvement:

    Student growth is enhanced when students are given both an explicit statement of standards they must meet and a way of seeing what they have learned. Assessment must include ample opportunities for students to monitor their learning through self-assessment.

8. Continuous Improvement:

    Assessment should not be a series of discrete milestones, but part of a continuous, coherent learning process directed toward achieving standards. Assessment is most effective when it yields frequent, on-going feedback as part of a continuous process of improving student performance, teacher instruction, the curriculum, and the assessment system.

9. Reporting Assessment Results:



a. The purpose of an assessment determines the appropriate use of its results. In keeping with the primary purpose of enhancing student learning, the emphasis for reporting assessment results should be on identifying and reporting educational progress and growth, rather than on comparisons of individuals or schools. Assessment information should not be used for judgmental or political purposes if such use would likely cause harm to students or to the effectiveness of teachers or schools.

b. Methods of communicating student growth will vary depending on audience and purpose. Regardless of purpose and method, all assessment results should be clear and understandable.

    c. As specified by state regulations, district assessment results will be communicated to the Board of Education annually. Results will also be shared with staff, parents, or guardians, and students in a timely manner.
    d. A communication process that ensures staff, parents or guardians, and students understand how to interpret assessment results and how to use the results to increase student learning will be implemented at each school.
    e. The Parkway Access and Reporting System (PARS, an informational management system) will be maintained by the district to permit continuous tracking of individual student progress over time.

10. Access: Parents and students have the right to know whatever assessment information the school has on record about the student’s abilities and performance. An understandable and usable document that interprets all district standardized assessment programs will be available for parent and student review.

11. Teaching-Testing Time Balance: The assessment program is a vital component of the teaching-learning process that includes teaching, assessing, and re-teaching. In this process, assessments determine student knowledge and skills, and instruction is adjusted to assure student mastery of curriculum standards. A balance between teaching and assessing is monitored through the assessment committee.

Assessment Committee

1. The Student Assessment Committee will include representatives from each of the following areas: coordinator of student assessment, curriculum coordinators, director of student services, principals, director of program evaluation, counselors, teachers, reading specialist, support staff/psychologists, representative from Special School district.

2. Committee members will be appointed by the coordinator of student assessment and approved by the Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, Development, Technology Integration, and Pupil Personnel Services.

3. Only Assessment programs approved by the assessment committee are required at the building level. Other assessment programs may be implemented at the discretion of the building principal and/or the Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, Development, Technology Integration, and Pupil Personnel Services within the parameter of the teaching-testing time balance.