Assessment Policy 

Created April 2017

 

Purpose: The purpose of this document is to clarify understanding for all school staff the assessment processes at West Goshen Elementary. It will continue to evolve in order to meet the assessment needs of our school. This policy will be communicated to our stakeholders.  Our policy links to our school vision, which is: 

 

At West Goshen Elementary School, we will develop students who have the thinking skills, character traits, and global awareness necessary to work together in a diverse world. 

 

PHILOSOPHY (WHY)

Why do we assess the way we do at West Goshen Elementary School

ACTIONS (WHAT) & EXAMPLES (HOW)

What assessment actions do we take and how?

We believe that the purpose of assessment is to guide instruction and that it should be ongoing as part of the instructional cycle. Teachers frequently assess at the beginning and end of lessons and units, and may begin a day’s lesson or a new line of inquiry with a review of previous results or pretest data. 

Teachers use interim assessments to check progress toward state/local standards mastery periodically, ensuring that standards with high student need are revisited. 

Observations, student questions, and periodic reflections are used to help monitor student progress as part of unit of inquiry learning.

Teachers differentiate exit tickets in order to provide support or challenge based on student strengths and needs. 

All staff engages in using multiple forms of assessment to plan instruction. This takes place during grade level planning, data meetings, cluster class, etc.

Teachers plan for Success time to directly meet needs of students at varying levels.

Leadership team uses assessment data to plan long-term focus for staff to improve instructional moves related to student needs. 

We believe that students should be active partners in assessing their growth/progress. Students are engaged in using lesson criteria to self-assess and determine their own strengths and needs. 

Students learn to provide feedback to each other. 

Students are guided by teachers to get goals and track their own progress based on assessment results. 

Teachers are beginning to include students in planning for or conducting parent conferences.  This is a practice we are just starting to explore.

Teachers are beginning to have students use electronic platforms (SeeSaw) to demonstrate their progress toward goals.

Principal meets individually with students in state-assessed grades (ISTEP, Grades 4 and 5) to share proficiency and growth results and set goals for the coming year. 

We believe that assessment results are important for all stakeholders. We share assessment results with students and help them create and track goals.

Data is shared with all staff who work with a student or groups of students (EL, Special Ed, intervention, etc).

Parents receive assessment results through report cards, at parent conferences, and reports sent after ISTEP.

We use Monday morning data meetings to review, analyze, and communicate assessment results among staff who work with students. 

We believe that assessment should track both growth and proficiency. We monitor student learning using growth measures such as day to day lesson data and NWEA, as well as measures of proficiency such as end of unit assessments and GCS interim assessments. On ISTEP, teachers and students review both proficiency and growth as reflected by their results. 

Staff analyzes student work/assessments to check for growth toward goals/required standards as well as whether or not students reach mastery.

Teachers determine which assessments to use based on whether they are checking for growth or proficiency.

Leadership team members provide support for staff to ensure that the purpose and results of different types of assessment are understood and can be used purposefully.

Data for individuals and for groups of students is organized to help all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers) understand evidence of learning in both growth and proficiency.

We believe that there are many ways to assess students and that it is important to use a variety of assessments in order to know the strengths, needs, and progress of all children. We balance formal assessments such as ISTEP, NWEA, and interim assessments with informal assessments such as lesson exit tickets, classroom work, etc.

Teachers assess student progress when students are working individually as well as when they work with partners or in groups.

Assessment is done in a variety of modes, including hands-on/performance, written, computer, verbal, project, etc. Question types are also varied deliberately (open-ended, multiple choice, multiple select, project, presentation etc).

Assessments may occur at many points in a lesson or unit–at the beginning, along the way, and at the end.

We believe that effective assessments show what students understand/can do, what they need to understand/do, and can be used to plan instructional moves to meet students’ needs. Staff uses assessment results to guide instructional planning (pre-tests, exit tickets, interim assessments, NWEA results, observation notes/checklists, etc).

We use a variety of assessment data to monitor students’ progress and plan for instruction based on strengths and needs. 

We analyze student work to determine what instructional moves are effective and what moves we might need to make to meet student needs. 

When creating assessments, we include variety in DOK level, question types, and ways in which students may respond. This helps give a better picture of student progress and needs and also allows us to differentiate assessment practices based on individuals or groups of students. 

When creating and using assessments, we consider a child’s current levels and needs as well as the rigor reflected in state and local standards for student learning. 

We use student assessment results to help inform us of our needs in continuing to develop effective instructional moves. 

 

Learning at West Goshen will be assessed in a variety of ways both within and outside our Program of Inquiry. Assessment results will be communicated with and used by appropriate stakeholders. Our assessment policy will periodically be reviewed and updated to meet the changing needs of our school community.

 

Assessing within the Program of Inquiry

Unit assessments and reflection: Each unit of inquiry will include pre-assessment of students’ understanding about the central idea/lines of inquiry. This formative assessment will help teachers shape the work students do during the unit. Throughout each line of inquiry, teachers will use both formative and summative assessments to assess knowledge and skills that are integrated into the unit theme. At the end of each unit, student participate in a summative assessment that allows them do demonstrate how their conceptual understanding has grown. These assessments may also provide teachers with another opportunity to assess students’ ability to use the approaches to learning in a meaningful way.

 

Learner profile and attitudes assessment: Periodically through the year, both within and outside the units of inquiry, students will have opportunities to show their understanding of the learner profile attributes and learner attitudes. Students’ ability to demonstrate using these attributes and attitudes will be assessed by teachers and students. Students will set goals related to using a specific attribute and track their progress in taking on the actions of that attribute along with their academic progress. 

 

Assessing the Learned Curriculum

District/state mandated assessments: 

West Goshen students participate in required district and state mandated assessments. The results of these assessments will be communicated with students and parents, and teachers will use this data to monitor student progress over time. These assessments will help inform instructional decisions, but will not be the only assessment information used to make these decisions.

District/State Assessment Students 
NWEA

(fall, spring; winter optional)

K-2nd : reading & math

3rd -5th: reading, math, & language arts

IREAD

(spring)

3rd 
ILEARN

(spring)

3rd -5th 
WIDA

(winter/spring)

EL students
Interim assessments based on Indiana College & Career Readiness Standards

(at the end of 6 week instructional windows)

K-5th 

 

Tools and strategies used within the school: 

West Goshen staff is committed to using a variety of assessment tools/strategies to determine progress toward mastery in specific lessons, check ongoing growth, and monitor the effectiveness of classroom and small group instruction. Planning for and using assessments are represented on the TAP Instructional Rubric used by school staff to feedback and support on their use of assessment. Teachers use both formative and summative assessments to monitor student learning, monitor the effectiveness of instruction, and to plan instruction aligned to students’ strengths and needs.  

The following tools and strategies are examples of how teachers might assess learning:

  • Anecdotal notes
  • Exit tickets with short answer, multiple choice, etc
  • Open-ended tasks or projects with minimum criteria for mastery identified
  • Tests/quizzes
  • Performance tasks
  • Written responses, writing projects, etc.
  • Student self-reported scores tied to lesson criteria
  • Portfolios (not yet; this is part of action plan for future implementation)

 

Reporting on Learning

Report cards: 

teachers use district-created report cards four times a year to communicate with parents how students are progressing toward mastery of state standards. The reports cards are a summative report on student progress at that point in time. 

Formal conferences: 

teachers and parents participate in formal conferences near the end of the first grading period each year. These formal conferences allow parents and teachers to review student progress in academics and learner behaviors. West Goshen staff recognizes the importance of these conferences, and each teacher strives to meet the goal of 100% participation by students’ parents.

Informal reporting to parents by teachers: 

teachers are also encouraged to report informally to parents via informal conferences, phone, and email. This type of reporting may be focused on academic, social, or behavioral needs of the student. More frequent reporting is encouraged for high-need students.  Parents may also request this type of report. 

Student-reported assessment of learning:  

teachers periodically engage students in assessing their own progress toward lesson/unit learning goals. Teachers provide mastery criteria or develop it along with students. Students may report scores in writing, through non-verbal signals, or verbally. Students are encouraged to share this information with their parents. In addition, teachers sometimes engage students in analyzing their own work in relation to learning goals/lesson mastery criteria. 

 

Student-led conferences (not yet; likely to become part of action plan for future implementation)

 

Grading Practices

Formal grading practices:

West Goshen staff use district-created report cards and the required four point grading scale to formally report grades to students and parents. The report cards are standards based and are intended to communicate individual students’ progress toward meeting the Indiana College and Career Readiness Standards.  When reporting progress, teachers use a four point grading scale with the following criteria:

4 = exceeds standard; can teach it to others

3 = demonstrates mastery of standard

2 = demonstrates partial mastery of standard; has mastered foundational elements of standard

1 = needs help to do work described in standard

 

Informal grading practices:

Teachers also use the four point standards-based scale to report progress on individual classroom assignments in order to communicate and track progress toward mastery of standards. In addition, teachers may use other methods to communicate progress within lessons or units. These include, but are not limited to, High/Medium/Low criteria, checklists, and rubrics. 

 

Student involvement in grading:

Teachers regularly engage students in comparing their work to established criteria in order to determine a grade or progress toward mastery. Students are expected to analyze their work and to name what they are doing well and what they need to do/learn in order to progress toward mastery. In early grades, this is done with teacher guidance and support and may only include one element of the work being analyzed. In later grades, students will be expected to reflect more deeply on their work and how it aligns to grading criteria. In addition, teachers may engage students in creating criteria for grading assignments/classroom work. 

 

This policy was created during the 2016-2017 school year.  It will be reviewed and revised as needed prior to each self-study as part of our ongoing implementation of the IB Primary Years Program.