Designing assessment of student learning
Your team can create a school that has a broader focus on what students should know and be able to do. You can also choose and invent tools and processes that assess student learning beyond traditional means.
Defining student achievement
Many schools define student achievement beyond their school’s mean proficiency score, students’ standardized test scores, and students’ grades in reading, writing, and mathematics. Teams often choose to focus on individual growth, emphasizing mastery over seat time. Some also measure students’ development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
Sometimes a team’s definition of achievement leads it to use a different assessment approach, adding new assessments to those already required. Keep in mind that taking on additional assessments could impact your team’s decisions about budget expenditures and teachers’ roles.
Learning what’s required by your state, school district, or charter authorizer
It’s important to be clear about what assessments your team is required to give to students. Ultimately, your state department, school district, or charter authorizer is the best resource for learning what assessments are required.
Some teams have been able to arrange for autonomy regarding assessments required by districts and/or charter authorizers. This gives teams freedom to decide whether or when to give tests and if they should count toward students’ grades.
While negotiating autonomy from state assessments is not realistic, it might be possible for teams to negotiate with states, districts, or charter authorizers to evaluate school and student performance using multiple measures (not just a mean proficiency score). For example, one charter authorizer in Minnesota (Innovative Quality Schools) negotiates with teacher-powered teams on this basis.