GUIDELINES FOR TESTING
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CCA elects to administer one standardized achievement test annually as one form for monitoring academic achievement. Please keep in mind that our teachers use both formative, interim and summative assessment to steer learning goals and instruction. Learning goals per geographical area/state can vary widely effecting the overall scores of an achievement test. In simpler term, if A student scores 7th grade math as a 3rd grade student, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are ready for 7th grade math instruction based on our grade level goals and benchmarks. Please read below for some detailed information on formative, interim and summative assessments. Each individual student is bound to score better on one form of assessment based on their own strengths and abilities. Teachers at CCA use all forms of assessment to cumulatively report student growth. In other words, if your student is not a good formal test taker, the teacher may need to assess in a one on one setting or during a work time.
This occurs in the short term, as learners are in the process of making meaning of new content and of integrating it into what they already know. Feedback to the learner is immediate (or nearly so), to enable the learner to change his/her behavior and understandings right away. Formative Assessment also enables the teacher to "turn on a dime" and rethink instructional strategies, activities, and content based on student understanding and performance. His/her role here is comparable to that of a coach. Formative Assessment can be as informal as observing the learner's work or as formal as a written test. Formative Assessment is the most powerful type of assessment for improving student understanding and performance.
Examples: a very interactive class discussion; a warm-up, closure, or exit slip; a on-the-spot performance; a quiz.
This takes place occasionally throughout a larger time period. Feedback to the learner is still quick, but may not be immediate. Interim Assessments tend to be more formal, using tools such as projects, written assignments, and tests. The learner should be given the opportunity to re-demonstrate his/her understanding once the feedback has been digested and acted upon. Interim Assessments can help teachers identify gaps in student understanding and instruction, and ideally teachers address these before moving on or by weaving remedies into upcoming instruction and activities.
Examples: Chapter test; extended essay; a project scored with a rubric.
This takes place at the end of a large chunk of learning, with the results being primarily for the teacher's or school's use. Results may take time to be returned to the student/parent, feedback to the student is usually very limited, and the student usually has no opportunity to be reassessed. Thus, Summative Assessment tends to have the least impact on improving an individual student's understanding or performance. Students/parents can use the results of Summative Assessments to see where the student's performance lies compared to either a standard (MEAP/MME) or to a group of students (usually a grade-level group, such as all 6th graders nationally, such as Iowa Tests or ACT). Teachers/schools can use these assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses of curriculum and instruction, with improvements affecting the next year's/term's students.
Examples: Standardized testing (STANFORD, MEAP, MME, ACT, WorkKeys, Terra Nova, etc.); Final exams; Major cumulative projects, research projects, and performances.