NATIONAL AND STATE ASSESSMENTS
PSSAs: The annual Pennsylvania System School Assessment is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment which provides students, parents, educators and citizens with an understanding of student and school performance related to the attainment of proficiency of the academic standards. Learn more here. Every Pennsylvania student in grades 3 through 8 is assessed in English Language Arts and Math. Every Pennsylvania student in grades 4 and 8 is assessed in science.
PASA: The Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) was developed in accordance with this allowance to meet the needs of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are not able to participate in the general assessment even with accommodations. The PASA is aligned with Pennsylvania's academic content standards with a reduction in depth and breadth evidenced by the Alternate Eligible Content, and measures the attainment of knowledge and skills of children with significant cognitive disabilities through performance tasks. Learn more here.
Keystones: The Keystone exams were created to replace the Grade 11 PSSA and serve as one component of Pennsylvania's statewide high school graduation requirement. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards. The exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Literature, and Biology. Learn more here.
Advanced Placement: Advanced Placement (AP) is a program in the United States created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations. Learn more here.
WIDA (for English Learners): The WIDA Consortium developed an assessment entitled Assessing Communication and Comprehension in English State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs). The Pennsylvania Department of Education uses the ACCESS for ELLs as the required instrument for the annual assessment of English language proficiency. Learn more here.
In New Hope-Solebury School District, we believe that data-driven instruction is at the heart of instructional best practices. Quantifiable assessments are used to identify areas of growth and to target areas of need. This drives progress in student learning and continuous improvement in our teaching practices. Assessments come in various forms but are classified primarily as:
Universal Screeners: Universal Screening uses a systematic process for identifying students who may be at risk and/or in need of support in academic and/or behavioral/social/emotional areas.
Formative assessments: Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of student status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics, (ASCD, 2008).
Summative assessments: The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark, (Carnegie Mellon University, 2015).
Benchmark assessments: Benchmark assessments are short tests administered throughout the school year that give teachers immediate feedback on how students are meeting academic standards. Regular use of benchmark assessments is seen by many as a tool to measure student growth and design curriculum to meet individual learning needs, (Learnnc.org).
Curriculum Based Assessments (CBA): CBAs are Benchmark Assessments given to measure student growth in particular subject areas throughout the school year. Information derived from these assessments allow teachers to make curricular decisions and adjust teaching practices.