Year-end, high-stake tests provide a useful snapshot of overall student and school performance, yet educators today are seeking to find ways to assess and track student progress through the school year in order to personalize instruction.
The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) and Grunwald Associates LLC released today “For every child, multiple measures,” a study that evaluates parent and teacher support for timely, actionable assessments that monitor individual student performance.
The study, which found that parents and teachers favored assessments that improve personalized teaching and learning as a top priority in education today, asked 1,024 teachers, 1009 parents, and 200 district administrators in K-12 the:
- Anticipated usefulness of assessments based on Common Core State Standards
- The use of adaptive assessments
- Time and money spent on assessments, and
- Who should make decisions about what students are learning.
“These research findings should help inform the ongoing public dialogue about the role of assessment in education,” said Peter Grunwald, president of Grunwald Associates LLC. “The views of educators—and especially parents—need to be heard as part of the effort to develop comprehensive and meaningful assessment systems.”
Formative assessments around classroom projects and units throughout the school year help teachers and parents focus on content students need to learn in order to pace instruction based on students’ individual competency. This ensures that each student learns fundamental skills.
NWEA reported that findings from the in-depth surveys include:
- At least 90 percent of parents cite the following priorities as “extremely” or “very” important to them: monitoring their child’s general progress in school, knowing when to be concerned about their child’s progress, determining their child’s preparedness for the next stage of learning and knowing if they need to seek extra help.
- At least 60 percent of teachers cite the following student-‐centered aspects of teaching and learning as among the most important to them: monitoring individual student performance and monitoring growth in learning over time.
- A majority of parents say that formative assessments (84 percent) and interim assessments (67 percent) are useful for instructional purposes, and a substantial minority (44 percent) say that summative assessments are useful. (These findings are broken down to show which type of assessments parents find useful for monitoring student progress, knowing when to seek additional help, measuring teacher quality and other benefits)
- 67 percent of teachers say formative and interim assessments are “extremely” or “very” valuable for determining whether students have a deep understanding of content, compared to 25 percent for summative assessments.
- 93 percent of administrators “completely” or “somewhat” agree that formative and interim assessments provide data about individual student growth and achievement, compared to 50 percent for summative assessments.
- While more than 90 percent of parents and educators say it is important to measure student performance in math and English/language arts, the majority of both groups also say it is important to measure performance in science; history; government and civics; economics; information, technology and media literacy and environmental literacy.
- Large majorities of parents and educators say it is important to measure higher-‐order thinking skills (e.g., problem solving, critical thinking, communication, creativity, innovation and collaboration).
- For many parents, assessment results begin losing their relevance within one month after assessments are administered. Sixty-‐seven percent of parents “completely” or “somewhat” agree that formative and interim assessment results are delivered in a timely manner, compared to 50 percent for summative assessment results.
“The research reinforces the notion that no one assessment can provide the breadth and depth of information needed to help students succeed. For every child, we need multiple measures of performance,” said Matt Chapman, president and CEO of NWEA.