Balanced System of Assessments

The LAFS define the expectations for what students need to be able to know and do. A balanced assessment system in a classroom, one that does not overly depend on a single assessment type or methodology, provides teachers with the tools they need to determine the mastery of a standard or the need to reteach.

Formative Assessments*

  • used to monitor student learning to provide ongoing reflective and descriptive feedback that can be used by teachers to improve their instruction and used by students to improve their learning
  • represent type of data teachers should spend most of their time collecting and analyzing to inform daily instructional planning that is differentiated based on student needs

Examples: student self-assessments; concept maps that represent understanding of topics; brief written responses identifying the main point of what is being learned; writing samples; journal entries; authentic work products based on performance tasks

Summative Assessments*

  • used to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit or end of the year by comparing against some standard or benchmark
  • represent type of data used for accountability purposes and to determine if student outcomes have been met

“When the cook tastes the food, that’s formative; when the guests taste the food, that’s summative.”
-Robert Stake

Examples: unit or final exams; common grade-level tests; final projects; district and state benchmark and outcome tests
*Love, N. (2013). Data Literacy for Teachers. National Professional Resources, Inc.

Assessment For Learning (Formative Assessments)

Screening Assessments

Formative assessments are often used as “assessments for learning” tools that drive the instruction in the classroom, by determining appropriate transition points in instruction, as well as pacing and the need for remediation or re-teaching. Summative assessments are utilized to confirm mastery of a standard or concept, and can also be used to drive future instruction.

  • informal inventories that provide a baseline indication of student preparation for grade-level literacy instruction
  • used to determine the need for differentiated support during both initial core instruction for all students (Tier 1) and intervention instruction for striving learners (Tier 2 and Tier 3)

Progress Monitoring Assessments

  • provide a quick sample of critical literacy skills that indicate student progress toward grade-level proficiency
  • used to evaluate the effectiveness of initial core and intervention instruction
  • provide indication whether greater instructional intensity is needed in order to meet adequate progress
  • different types and purposes for progress monitoring, which call for a range in the frequency of administration
  • provide data on mandatory quarterly progress monitoring of Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals for students with disabilities

General Outcome Measures*

  • indicate whether or not instruction is sufficiently powerful to “close the gap” over a reasonable period of time
  • can be used to determine growth rate for a specific literacy component

Example: administer the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) running record to determine if student progress is sufficient to meet grade-level proficiency within a reasonable amount of time

Classroom-Based Formative Measures*

  • closely tied to the specific curriculum being implemented
  • can suggest ways that instruction should be changed in order to increase student performance
  • can be administered more frequently (daily, weekly, bi-weekly) to acquire data informing student progress in mastering specific skill lesson objectives

Example: administer Weekly Check-Ups and End-of-Unit Tests that are program embedded (as scheduled during Fundations intervention instruction), to determine student mastery of explicit and systematic lesson objectives
*Florida Department of Education, Just Read, Florida!, (2009).

“You can’t learn without feedback . . . It’s not teaching that causes learning. It’s the attempts by the learner to perform that cause learning, dependent upon the quality of the feedback and opportunities to use it. A single test of anything is, therefore, an incomplete assessment. We need to know whether the student can use the feedback from the results.”
-- Grant Wiggins

Diagnostic Assessments

  • used to evaluate a broad range of critical literacy skills for the purpose of determining a more precise and detailed picture of a striving learner’s strengths and weaknesses
  • used to plan intervention instruction that targets the specific differentiated needs of the student, which may include curriculum compacting or acceleration
  • helpful in designing Tier 2 targeted intervention instruction for the student not progressing adequately in the core curriculum
  • recommended for designing Tier 3 intensive intervention instruction that meets the unique needs of the student
  • helpful in developing appropriate Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals for students with disabilities

Assessment Of Learning (Summative Assessments)

Outcome Assessments

  • used to evaluate the effectiveness of long-term Tier 1, 2, and 3 literacy instruction for all students through the measurement of progress on critical grade-level standards and benchmarks