School districts adopt a range of assessments in their balanced assessment systems. Some assessments are meant specifically to support learning—to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, help teachers plan instruction, and evaluate the effectiveness of curricula. Others are meant to predict future performance or accomplish other goals. To help educators and professionals get on common ground with terminology, we’ve explored the definitions and purpose of interim and benchmark assessments. Now we offer a new video to add to our collective understanding of these district-level assessments.
Understand the peril
The potential peril in district-level assessments is that they may not align to standards or yield reliable data. They can also provoke complaints about too much testing time if they’re not perceived as worthwhile.
Realize the promise
To realize the promise of district programs, assessments must be fully aligned with the multi-dimensional intent of college and career readiness standards—not just correctly associating items with standards, but including a range of content that reflects high expectations for students.
Watch the video
This video features Dr. Catherine Taylor, Professor Emeritus, College of Education, at the University of Washington and former Vice President of Measurement for Measured Progress. She uses a concrete and surprising example to explain assessment reliability and validity, and presents real data from schools and districts in the Pacific Northwest to explain how misalignment can undermine the promise of district-level assessments.
Watch to see Dr. Taylor’s vision of what effective district assessment can look like. You’ll see what elements to look for as you consider new solutions to realize the promise of interim assessments.