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Assessment & Progress Monitoring

When teachers design formative assessments effectively, students learn at roughly double the rate than they do without it.

Dylan Wiliam

What We Understand About Assessment

The purpose of assessment is to identify the strengths and areas of need of every student.

Formative assessments are ongoing and frequent diagnostic assessments used to inform day to day instruction. Formative assessments are used as assessments for learning, which helps teachers identify what the students’ need to be taught next. Data garnered from formative assessments are used to plan for daily instruction that is differentiated and targeted based on individual student need. Examples of formative assessments include informal and formal running records, reading inventories, fluency scales, student work samples tied to specific assignments, and anecdotal notes recorded during conferring and guided reading.

Summative assessments are used as assessments of learning which “sums up” students’ skills, knowledge and understandings. Summative assessments can be designed at the end of a unit of study where students show what they know in authentic, meaningful demonstrations of their learning. In addition, summative assessments can be standardized assessments used to assess whether students have mastered a set body of knowledge, skills, or standards compared to other students. The NYSELA and NYSELAT are examples of summative assessments.

Summative assessment is characterized as assessment of learning and is contrasted with formative assessment, which is assessment for learning. It is important that teachers analyze data from both formative and summative assessments.

What We Understand About the Importance of Progress Monitoring

Classroom teachers use a number of established tools and methods to monitor and document students' progress across the year and to inform instruction. Some of those tools include:

  • Reading conferences which include 1:1 conferring with students
  • Informal running records
  • Multi-sensory, play-based games and activities to support students’ learning needs in reading & word study

Our Approach

The balanced literacy model provides teachers with opportunities to differentiate instruction to meet the range of needs in their classes. Teachers use assessment data to plan and implement small group instruction such as guided reading groups and/or strategy groups to target students’ specific needs. These groups are flexible; teachers adjust them regularly based on available data. Additionally, teachers conduct reading conferences 1:1 with students and confer with them to provide responsive teaching as well as determine appropriate next steps.

In Mamaroneck, when students are identified through screening, progress monitoring, or other ongoing assessments as not making sufficient progress toward district benchmarks, the district’s multi-tier RTI Model provides a range of supplemental interventions with increasing levels of frequency and intensity to address these needs.