The Avon Grove School District has developed a comprehensive assessment plan to measure student achievement of academic standards. The District’s balanced assessment system includes both assessment of learning and assessment for learning. Assessment of learning documents individual or group achievement or mastery of standards, measures achievement status at a point in time for purposes of reporting, and provides accountability. Assessment for learning promotes increases in achievement to help students meet more standards, support ongoing student growth, and promotes improvement in student performance.
The District’s assessment plan features a tiered assessment system that is comprised of various levels of assessment including (1) national assessments (i.e. ACT, PLAN, PSAT, SAT, AP, etc), (2) state assessments(PSSA, Keystone Exams), (3) local benchmark assessments(Measures of Academic Progress), (4) common formative and summative assessments, (5) classroom assessments. Additional diagnostic assessments are given to individual students as necessary.
Assessments are given at various times during the school year. National assessments (ACT, PLAN, PSAT, SAT, AP exams) are administered according to an established schedule during the school year. State assessments (PSSA, Keystone Exams) are typically given one time per year, local benchmark assessments (MAP) are administered three times a year – fall, winter, and spring. The Avon Grove School District continues to work on the development common assessments across the content areas. Once developed, common summative assessments will be administered every six to eight weeks to align with units of instruction and formative assessments will be administered every two to three weeks to assess on-going learning during instruction. Diagnostic assessments are administered as needed based upon individual student need. All assessment measures are aligned to the content standards.
The six major components of the assessment plan are (1) clear and appropriate targets, (2) verification of student achievement, (3) methods and measures to assess teaching and learning, (4) expanded opportunities for student learning, (5) continuous improvement, and (6) clear and effective communication.
Setting clear and appropriate targets is a critical component of the District’s assessment plan. The District has utilized the Understanding by Design (UbD)curriculum framework to develop curriculum. An essential step in the UbD framework is beginning with the state content standards and developing Big Ideas, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions. Back mapping of the content standards is an important part of this process. Key benchmarks are established at each grade level and essential questions are utilized to develop both summative and formative assessments aligned to the content standards.
Verification of student achievement occurs through the use of the assessments within the tiered assessment system. Common assessments provide information on how students are progressing towards mastery of the standards. The state assessment provides a summative record of how students have progressed toward mastering the grade level standards in a given school year.
The data from the national, state, and local assessments are utilized to guide and improve student achievement. Data analysis is a critical component of the District’s assessment system. The analysis of data drives instructional decision making for curriculum, programs, and individual students. The data serves as a vehicle to make changes to curriculum, instructional programs, and to provide additional support/intervention and enrichment for students.
The District utilizes numerous practices to communicate assessment information to students and parents. National test results are provided to parents of students that take the assessments. State test (PSSA, Keystone Exams) results are reported in the District’s newsletters, on the District Web site, and in the local paper on an annual basis. Individual student test scores for the state assessment are provided to the parents of each student. Common assessments, both formative and summative, are shared with parents during parent/teacher conferences. Common summative assessments are reflected on the individual student report card.