Assessment

Utilize a balanced assessment system. Assessment, critical to the teaching and learning process, must be aligned with learning goals in order to provide both the teacher and the student with feedback on the impact of instruction and the level of student learning. A balanced assessment system of formative, summative, and authentic assessment at the classroom level allows for a comprehensive understanding of student progress toward learning goals. Common assessments help teams gauge student understanding of guaranteed curriculum standards. Dependence on one type of assessment does not afford for a clear reality of student achievement in the classroom.

Integrate frequent formative and periodic summative assessment. Formative assessment occurs throughout the teaching and learning process. Frequent formative assessment supports the learning during instruction and checks for understanding along the way. As such, formative assessment has powerful implications for teachers and students. For teachers, formative assessment allows for timely adjustment of instruction and determines the way each student will demonstrate progress toward understanding and transfer of learning. It also creates a platform for students to provide feedback to the teacher and peers. As teachers provide feedback that is descriptive in nature during ongoing formative assessment, students are empowered to take responsibility for monitoring and reflecting on their own learning, providing a deeper understanding of what they know and do not know. This helps determine next steps to progress student learning and supports selfassessment and self-adjustment of their learning (Hattie, 2009). While formative assessment monitors student learning, summative assessment evaluates learning. Summative assessments generally occur at the end of a determined instructional segment. Summative assessments gauge student learning at a particular point in time relative to standards and performance goals. 

Provide ample opportunities for authentic assessment. We do not simply want students to know content, but rather strive to support the transfer of skills, knowledge, and understandings to problems and authentic situations. Authentic assessments allow students to demonstrate what they know by applying their learning in a variety of contexts. These assessments require students to tap into prior knowledge and transfer learning in a sophisticated way. They provide a context for collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking. Therefore, students are not only demonstrating their learning, but also learning the process of working together to find solutions.

Utilize digital resources to provide timely, accurate data points and individual feedback supporting the cycle of continuous improvement. Digital resources play a significant role in providing students and teachers with timely feedback about their learning. Ensuring students are part of the formative assessment and feedback conversation promotes self-directed learning and a growth mindset. As SCPS deploys more digital resources and/or devices to students to gauge, measure, provide practice, and allow for reflection and accountability, a transformational shift towards a mindset striving for continuous improvement takes place. Ultimately, through student-centered assessment, student conversations demonstrating their knowledge in various ways and students becoming a part of their own growth plan to develop new ways of utilizing digital resources and tools will promote assessment as a form of feedback for growth as opposed to the traditional routine of summative testing, and stressful testing of the Virginia Standards of Learning.