How We Use Assessments
District 109 uses assessments to gather information about student learning that will inform instructional decisions. We give some assessments frequently to help us decide what comes next within lessons, when to reteach topics, or to diagnose problems. These assessments are called formative assessments; they are formal and informal processes teachers and students use to gather evidence to improving learning.
We give other assessments periodically, and use this information accumulated over time to determine how much learning has occurred. We use the results of these assessments when assigning progress report grades or identifying students for special services. Less frequent assessments, such as state-mandated standardized tests, are used to inform the community about the efficacy of school programs or to decide whether to continue or discontinue a particular program. These are examples of summative assessments, which provide evidence of student achievement for the purpose of making a judgement about student competence or program effectiveness.
The more information we have about individual student learning, the better we can adjust instruction to ensure that all students continue to achieve.
Types of Assessments
What Is It? Assessments that are created at the classroom or team level, and are the primary source of learning/grading measurements.
Why? Formative and summative assessments at the classroom level inform and measure day-to-day instruction and provide data for achievement reporting. Results of these assessments help teachers differentiate instruction based on student need.
What Is It? Internally created assessments, directly aligned with instruction, that provide immediate feedback.
Why? Teams of teachers create and use common benchmark assessments based on essential learning targets from our curriculum maps. The data from these tests allow us to monitor individual students, classes, and grade levels in their attainment of standards. They provide the opportunity to reflect on areas of success and areas for growth with our colleagues, and help provide indication of readiness for PARCC assessment.
What Is It? The District’s only common writing assessment, this internally created assessment is directly aligned with our instruction
Why? Teams of teachers use common prompts to assess selected writing standards. This assessment allows the District to monitor individual students, classes, and grade levels in their attainment of standards. It provides the opportunity to reflect on areas of success and areas for growth.
What Is It? Nationally normed test that provides immediate feedback on growth measures.
Why? To gather data on student achievement and learning readiness. MAP Testing allows the District to measure growth over time for students, classes, grade levels, and the school. It provides opportunities for goal setting at all levels. It is nationally normed to provide greater insight into student and building progress.
What Is It? A state-mandated standardized test that measures readiness for college and careers.
Why? The PARCC assessment is Illinois’ state achievement test. It is crafted to give teachers, schools, students, and parents useful information on how we are preparing our students for their future in comparison to other schools in Illinois.
More About MAP
More About PARCC
For several years, school districts across Illinois, including ours, worked to align the curriculum with the Common Core State Standards. Along with the new standards came new assessments. While students in grades three through eight had typically taken the ISAT, in 2015, school districts in Illinois administered the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) Assessment.
There are several states that are members of the PARCC consortium who work together to establish assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do we have to administer these assessments?
A: Federal law, including the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) require that states administer an assessment to all eligible students in grades three through eight. Illinois chose to administer the PARCC Assessment since it is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core.
Q: What is a good score? Should we expect to see whether our students met or exceeded the State Standard?
A: Score reports show how students performed on each portion of the PARCC assessment as well as their overall score. The student test results enable all of us to know where students currently stand on their path to success in college and career.
- Students scoring a 4 or 5 have demonstrated that they have a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are on the right track to being ready for college-level coursework.
- Students receiving a 3 are approaching expectations, but may need additional assistance mastering content.
- Students receiving a 1 or 2 need more assistance in mastering the content and are in need of greater supports.
Q: What do the score reports look like?
A: Sample Score Reports
A: Scores are used in conjunction with our local assessments (MAP and District Common Assessments in ELA, Math and Writing) to identify subjects a child is doing well and how they can be challenged to go deeper into other areas or where he or she needs extra support or practice. Having accurate data is an important part of ensuring that our schools are providing the right supports for students to be successful.