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Assessment Methods

Large-scale Assessments

Large-scale assessments occurs annually or less-frequently and can be either criterion referenced or normed.

  • State and national assessments typically occur annually but may be as frequent as twice annually for certain student populations or may occur only once. Information is used to show how students are performing against state standards or national norms, and to hold school districts accountable for student performance. Assessment instruments and procedures are standardized so that comparisons can be made across student groups.
  • Universal screening assessments can occur only once or it may occur multiple times annually, depending upon its purpose. Information is used for early identification of learning needs. Examples of universal screening assessments include the Early Screening Inventory (ESI) and Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). Some universal screenings take the form of curriculum?based measures (CBM) as is the case with DIBELS.
  • Benchmark assessments occur two to three times annually. Information is used to identify strengths and gaps in curriculum and instruction and to determine how student groups are progressing. Grade-level curriculum may be refined, and teachers may adjust instruction for student groups based on their progress. Locally developed benchmark assessments should be based upon Ohio Common Core State Standards.

Small-Scale Assessments

Small-scale assessments occurs frequently and should be standards-based or criterion-referenced.

  • Classroom formative assessment occurs continuously as students are learning and is considered assessment for learning. The purposes of formative assessments are to provide students with insight about their current level of achievement, to inform students about how they can improve their learning, and to help teachers identify and respond to student learning needs. Information is used to adjust teaching strategies. Students receive frequent and meaningful feedback on their performances. Examples of formative assessment strategies include observation and immediate feedback during learning experiences, quick checks for understanding, class discussion, strategic questioning techniques, rubrics (used by both teachers and students), student work samples, and student self-assessment.
  • Classroom summative assessment occurs after student learning has taken place and is considered assessment of learning. The purpose of summative assessment is to document achievement or mastery of standards at a point in time. It is used to inform others about students and used to certify competence or to identify areas for growth. Information is used to adjust unit instructional strategies or assessment tools that will be implemented in the future. Examples of summative assessment strategies include graded student work or essays, tests, quizzes, and final projects or performance assessments.
  • Curriculum-embedded assessment also occurs continuously within the instructional process. As the name implies, these measures are naturally embedded in instruction. Often students are not aware that the activity is in fact an assessment. Information is used to monitor student learning, inform instruction, or identify students in need of intervention, remediation, or enrichment. Curriculum-embedded assessments may be formative (assessment for learning) or summative (assessment of learning) in nature, and may include performance tasks, oral or written response, presentations/exhibitions, or other examples of student work. Common curriculum-embedded assessments also provide basic program evaluation data essential for grade level Professional Learning Communities (PLC).
  • Diagnostic assessments occur only as needed. Such tests are used to identify a specific learning need or to determine intervention techniques or strategies for targeted instruction. The information is commonly used during the RTI referral process.
  • Progress monitoring assessment occurs regularly over time. Frequency depends upon the tier of instruction (within the Pyramid of Interventions). Information is used to mark student progress over time at frequent intervals when strategic instruction or intensive intervention is necessary. Data is commonly used within the context of a problem-solving situation (RTI) when determining if, or to what extent, an intervention has been effective. Progress monitoring data is best analyzed by plotting it on a time-series chart.