Assessment Resources

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These resources cover important topics in educational assessment and are provided here to support the needs of educators and education policy makers, as well as the groups they serve. They have been selected by RMC’s senior advisor on educational assessment, Stuart Kahl. Dr. Kahl has extensive experience in both assessment and curriculum/instruction. Click here to see his brief bio.
For purposes of comparability and reporting, scaled scores must be computed that reflect student performance on commercial tests and state accountability tests. However, concerns about scaled scores not providing information about what students know and can do have been addressed by the use of performance level reporting. Based their scores, students are put into categories...
“Balance” in a district assessment system means more than just using formative, interim, and summative assessment. It also means giving these components appropriate attention and doing them and using them well. And doing them well can pertain to coverage of curriculum standards and to balance of attention to foundational knowledge/skills and deeper learning, as well...
Despite increased interest in instructional and assessment innovation, change has been difficult for many local educators because many well-intended initiatives have placed added burdens on them – additional requirements in terms of time and effort. One goal of educational reform is to change the way some teachers and students spend their time – to get...
School reform efforts intended to raise achievement levels of US students are not new. Recent initiatives mandating student academic growth and punishing educators whose students collectively have not demonstrated adequate yearly progress have not worked. They have not led to improved instructional practice and student motivation to learn, which are so critical to student learning....
Effective implementation of the multi-step instructional process of formative assessment shifts the focus of students to their own learning by making them more responsible for it and by using grading practices that encourage learning rather than inhibiting it. Administrators have important roles to play by supporting professional development in formative assessment, by improving school grading...
In the name of flexibility and innovation, ESSA allows the use of interim assessments, the results of which would be aggregated for purposes of ESSA accountability. However, there are good arguments for why both general achievement measures used multiple times during the school year and benchmark tests covering recently taught material would be poor choices...
Ten dimensions of formative assessment practice are described. For each dimension, a rubric is provided for use in observation and self reflection with the goal of improving instructional practice. The ten dimensions are: I. Learning goals II. Criteria for Success III. Tasks and Activities that Elicit Evidence of Student Learning IV. Questioning Strategies that Elicit...
Local educators, parents, and others generally want more information on student performance from their state assessments than those programs give them. This is not surprising given the high stakes now associated with state assessment results. Furthermore, current and previous federal laws have required that reports of individual student test performance be diagnostic. For several reasons,...
For purposes of comparability and reporting, scaled scores must be computed that reflect student performance on commercial tests and state accountability tests. However, concerns about scaled scores not providing information about what students know and can do have been addressed by the use of performance level reporting. Based their scores, students are put into categories...
Computer-Adaptive Testing (CAT) was first created to generate a total test scaled score (or estimate of ability) as efficiently as possible – that is, with as few items as possible administered in a very short time. Each item selected to be administered to a test taker is selected by the computer based on the test...
A student’s test score is only meaningful in relation to something else – 1) information on the performance of a particular group of students, 2) some pre-established standard of performance, 3) a test score reflecting previous performance of the student, or 4) a prediction of performance based on previous testing. The last two of these,...
“I promise to replace our current accountability assessment with a single, summative, formative, adaptive, diagnostic general achievement test that measures growth and yields immediate results that teachers can use right away to modify their instruction.” Over a period of four decades, the stakes associated with state assessment results have increased dramatically. At the same time,...
It’s fitting that an early post in this blog is a piece on “balanced assessment systems” because it’s an all encompassing concept relative to the assessments experienced by students. We can zero in on specifics throughout the year. The term has become a widely used one, yet when folks are asked to define it, the...
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