Measuring success in District 196
The District 196 Student Testing and Assessment Center is responsible for all district wide achievement testing. The assessment center staff work on implementation of state graduation standards; administer district, state and national tests; collect other information to support revision and development of curricular and instructional programs; and report data to the School Board, the Curriculum and Instruction Advisory Council (CIAC), and the public.
Our mission is to collect meaningful information, report it in a timely way, and communicate the results in a clear and helpful style. The District 196 Assessment Plan articulates a balanced system of assessment that:
- Aligns with Minnesota and district standards
- Supports our district mission
- Provides assessment information that is compatible with information from previous grades
- Provides data to be used by Professional Learning Communities for strengthening instructional approaches
- Utilizes an array of assessment methods which provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding and knowledge
Assessments are an integral part of instruction, as it determines whether or not the goals of education are being met. Assessment affects decisions about grades, placement, advancement, instructional needs, curriculum, and, in some cases, funding. Assessments inspire us to ask these hard questions: "Are we teaching what we think we are teaching?" "Are students learning what they are supposed to be learning?" "Is there a way to teach the subject better, thereby promoting better learning?"
Types of assessments
There are two main types of assessments; formative and summative:
- Formative assessment happens during the learning process and is often referred to as the assessment for learning. Formative assessment is used to diagnose student needs and plan instruction to meet every student’s individual needs. Feedback is provided to students while working on a test or project to improve learning.
- Summative assessment happens at the end of the learning process and is often referred to as the assessment of learning. It is used to measure the achievement on a completed task, project or course. Summative assessments are generally used for reporting.
Why do we have multiple assessments?
Each of the components in the district's balanced assessment program contributes to a more complete understanding of each student and together these assessments help to monitor student progress and guide instruction in every classroom. A variety of assessments are important to answer different questions about each individual student. Data collected from assessments, when used properly, lead to improved achievement.
Assessments are one tool used to:
- Identify student achievement levels and skill performance; and students who may benefit from intervention and enrichment programs.
- Measure student learning.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of our educational system; student knowledge and skills relative to Minnesota Academic Standards; and educational innovations and curriculum.
- Improve Instruction to guide efforts to adapt instruction to the needs and abilities of students by assisting in setting educational priorities for groups or individual students.
- Report to students, parents, teachers, district staff, school board, and community members; and to provide information on student achievement.