4 Components of a Balanced Assessment System Infographic
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) emphasizes the need for a balanced assessment system (BAS). While there’s a lot of uncertainty about the fate of ESSA, many of us in the K–12 world understand the inherent rightness of a BAS and will persist in seeking that kind of comprehensive assessment plan. It’s the bright, elusive butterfly of assessment—we all want it, and we’re all working hard to pin it down. At Measured Progress they have established their vision of a BAS which is based on having a clear understanding of the goals and uses of various assessment types.
Several different terms can be used to describe similar kinds of assessments. But these terms carry some nuance, and are not necessarily interchangeable. One of the keys to assessment literacy is establishing clarity and consistency in the terminology we use with our colleagues and policy makers. To that end, Measured Progress created an infographic to help explain the parts and the whole of a balanced assessment system.
1. Formative assessment practices
Formative assessment is a multi-step interactive process, not a type of test. Over time, teachers and students engage in a variety of activities in a student–teacher learning partnership.
2. Benchmark assessments
Test publishers provide many benchmark assessments that districts use at certain points through the year. Teachers also create benchmark tests—the term refers to assessment of recently taught material—such as unit, semester, or chapter content.
3. Interim assessments
These are general achievement measures used to monitor progress toward end-of-year goals and to flag problems. Interim tests cover the full year’s standards at several points during the school year.
4. Statewide assessment
Statewide testing refers to the program that individual states or state collaboratives administer once a year to fulfill accountability requirements and demonstrate progress.
The 4 Components of a Balanced Assessment System Infographic shows how these parts work together across a school year.