Good assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process, and well-designed assessments can give valuable information to teachers and students. Leading researchers in assessment argue that traditional testing practices, which rate, rank and sort students, should be abandoned in favor of meaningful feedback and corrective instruction that guide students to improved performance.
In addition to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests in reading, writing, math and science,
4Sight is a group administered benchmark assessment. It provides data for discussion about curriculum and instruction in the district, school and team levels. Summary reports provide teachers and administrators information about gaps in students’ prior learning and retention of concepts taught. This assessment focuses on Pennsylvania State Standards and eligible content for PSSA.
DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) is an individually administered benchmark test that assesses student’s mastery of early literacy skills. The data that is provided allows for early identification of students who might be at risk. Additionally, it provides assessment information that helps teachers focus classroom instruction to improve reading outcomes for all students.
DRA 2 (Diagnostic Reading Assessment) provides a method for assessing and documenting over time primary students’ development as readers. The individually administered assessment allows teachers to determine the independent reading level of students. This data is used to plan classroom instruction and to differentiate instruction when working with students in small groups.
The Assessment Analysis Core Team, a group of teachers and administrators, who meet several times during the year to discuss and evaluate district assessments, and the Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Department, will address the following important topics in 2011-2012: Keystone Exams and standards-based grading.