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Assessment Policy

Beliefs

At South Ridge Elementary School, we believe that assessment is authentic, engaging, effective and ongoing. Teachers begin each unit by developing assessments around desired understandings and attitudes. Classroom teachers rely on accurate assessment information to guide and determine instruction and next steps. It identifies what a student already knows, a student's progress/needed growth and what he or she has learned. Assessment is a collection of evidence to celebrate and determine the understanding which is developed as a result of ongoing inquiry and thinking.  The assessments are clearly stated to students so they understand their purpose for learning. The balanced assessment system is made up of three types of assessments: formative, interim, and summative to provide feedback on the learning process.

Purpose of Assessment

  • Ensure authentic learning occurs
  • Provide evidence of students' deeper understanding
  • Guide instruction and determine next steps
  • Plan for differentiation
  • Evaluate the process as well as the product
  • Provide valid, rigorous and timely results
  • Set personal learning goals
  • Communicate progress
  • Guide future direction of the school
  • Engage students in self-reflection

Types of Assessment

Formative Assessments

Formative assessments are a part of the instructional process. When incorporated into classroom practice, they provide the information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening.  In this sense, formative assessment informs teachers, students and parents about student understanding at a point when timely adustments can be made. These adjustments help to ensure students achieve specific learning goals within a set timeframe. Examples of this form of assessment include:

  • Running records
  • Journals
  • Anecdotal notes
  • Cooperative learning structures
  • Reciprocal teaching
  • Visible thinking routines
  • Rubrics
  • Checklists
  • Discussions
  • Observations
  • STAR assessments
  • Lexia Learning

Interim Assessments

Interim assessments provide teachers with a valid and reliable measure of growth for their students' academic performance.  The purpose of the interim assessment program is to provide teachers with a specifric instructional information to guide lesson planning and differentiation.  Examples of this form of assessment include:

  • STAR assessments
  • District-created assessments
  • Spelling inventory
  • Writing prompt
  • Reading inventory
  • End of year/benchmark math assessments
  • Lexia Learning

Summative Assessments

Summative assessments are given periodically to determine, at a particular point in time, what students know and what they need to learn. They occur after instruction and are used as a means to gauge student learning and the effectiveness of the teaching program. Summative assessments also allow the teacher to stand back to allow the students to demonstrate their understanding of a concept/central idea.  Examples of this form of assessment include:

  • Portfolios
  • Unit tests
  • Exhibitions
  • Developmental Reading Assessments, 2nd Edition (DRA2)  (optional)
  • Projects
  • Performance assessments
  • Standardized tests

Tools for Assessment

  • Observations
  • Conferences
  • Anectodal notes
  • Writing samples
  • Parent observations
  • Student reflections
  • Peer observations
  • Student reflections
  • Peer interactions
  • Peer feedback
  • Running records
  • Rubrics
  • Checklists
  • Portfolios
  • Previous student records
  • Performance assessments
  • Project work
  • Tests/quizzes
  • Open-ended tasks
  • Teacher feedback
  • Standardized tests (STAR assessments, PARCC, CMAS)

Principles of Effective Assessment

Effective assessments will:

  • Be consistent with the school's philosophy
  • Be triangulated for accurate data
  • Cater to different types of intelligences and modalities
  • Be ongoing
  • Be authentic
  • Be directly related to learning outcomes
  • Assess conceptual understanding in addition to content knowledge
  • Assess critical thinking
  • Accurately measure student understanding
  • Be varied
  • Help develop understanding of the whole child, i.e., academic, social and emotional characteristics
  • Occur throughout the learning process
  • Be transparent

Effective assessments should allow students to:

  • Explain, apply, analyze and support their responses
  • Apply knowledge in real-life situations
  • Clearly demonstrate their understanding of the concept
  • Reflect on their thinking and their growth
  • Set personal goals
  • Demonstrate creativity
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Actively participate in the creation of the assessment
  • Inquire
  • Feel encouraged by their success
  • Be aware of the criteria for assessment and know what is expected

Effective assessments should allow teachers to:

  • Use the assessment informatoin to guide their next seps
  • Plan for differentiation
  • Clarify expectations
  • Reflect on teaching strategies
  • Monitor growth over a period of time
  • Understand what a student knows and how well learning is being applied
  • Gain insight into areas where students are experiencing difficulties
  • Gather data to support discussions with parents and colleagues regarding student progress
  • Determine the interest level of students

Effective assessments should allow parents to:

  • See the evidence of student understanding and knowledge by the child's application to real life situations
  • Provide support outside of school
  • Celebrate growth
  • Track student progress and achievements

Reporting and Sharing Assessment Information

Assessment information should be accessible to students, parents and teachers. A variety of assessments should be collected and shared throughout each planner. It may be done through student-led conferences, grade-level collaborations, portfolios, celebrations, and exhibitions. It is an ongoing process that shows how students use self-assessment to determine their strengths, areas for improvement and growing knowledge.

Portfolio Assessment

Each student will maintain a portfolio that contains a collection of their work to "tell a story through time." The portfoio samples will show growth and development related to established criteria. Each sample will be accommpanied by a student reflection piece. The student reflection will ensure student ownership and the student's ability to set personal goals and take responsibility for his or her own learning.

Conferences

Teacher- and student-led conferences occur two times per year. During student-led conferences, students will ahve the opportunity to share their progress and next steps for learning in content areas as well as the learner profile traits. Understanding of cocepts and central ideas, as well as the learner profile traits, will be reflected during this time.

Elementary Progress Reports (EPRs)

As mandated by the District, EPRs will be completed two times per year on a semester schedule. Progress on content areas and beharior will be reported to parents.

Recording Assessment Information

Assessment information should be efficiently recorded by both teacher and student through the use of a collection of artifacts that show understanding. The teacher and student can work together to record this information. Students are involved in the creation of rubrics to guide their learning and record their performance.

Recording methods include:

  • Portfolios
  • Goal folders
  • Concept webs
  • Anecdotal notes
  • Checklists
  • Rating scales
  • Exemplars
  • Rubrics
  • Running records
  • Teacher feedback
  • Peer feedback

Portfolios

Each student portfolio will contain at least one artifact form the six different Transdisciplinary Themes and an accompanying student reflection piece. The portfolio will also house a Learner Profile reflection page that is completed by the student or teacher two times per year. The students will select the artifacts based on a set criteria and with possible teacher guideance. Portfolios will be available for viewing by parents, teachers and students. All graded work will remain confidential and will only be accessible to those staff memebers and parents who work with the specific student.

Learner Profile

Each student will reflect on his or her growth and development of the learner profile traits two times per year on a recording sheet. This sheet will be shared at conferences and will become an artifact in student portfolios.

Mandatory Requirements

We at South Ridge believe that mandatory requirements for assessment will allow students to demonstrate evidence of understanding by using a variety of forms to meet all learning styles. Evidence needs to be provided of the learner's thought process, growth, strengths and next steps. This evidence should lead to experiences and actions outside of the classroom, in the community and at home. We want to inspire life-long learning.

Teachers will administer:

  • All formative and summative assessments as well as student self-reflections from all six planners during the school year
  • Informal and formal assessments necessary for student success, such as classroom observations, anecdotal records, student discussion, conferring, conferences, running records, etc.
  • The DRA2 to be administered as required by the District, with dates determined at the beginning of each school year
  • Math in Focus math assessments according to curriculum/program
  • PARCC (Colorado state assessment) testing for identified grade levels
  • For our ESL students, the ACCESS for ELLs test to be administered for identified grade levels
  • Any other assessments that match this criteria and as required by our state curriculum and resources
  • STAR assessments

Assessment Review

As a staff, we will review our assessment agreements annually at the beginning of each school year.