Authentic assessments of students’ understanding and learning are key to providing them with educational opportunities that meet their needs, both as individuals and as groups. In OSSU, we have created an assessment system that relies on three types of data: teacher-created assessments, OSSU-wide assessments, and state or national assessments.
Teachers utilize a wide variety of assessments from traditional tests, quizzes and homework to projects and performance assessments, as well as formative assessments, such as check-ins, warm-ups, entrance/exit tickets, rubrics, and so much more. Data from teacher-created assessments have the greatest impact on how students move through school. These data are to mainly used to inform day-to-day instructional decisions.
These assessments are considered part of our universal screening tool to identify students whose achievement is very far above or below expectations. The reason for this identification is so that teams of professionals can convene to discuss ways to assist students in learning or to create enrichment plans. The advantage of these assessments is the ability to compare student achievement to norms across OSSU schools. When we can compare student achievement across schools, it allows us the ability to analyze differences in program performance, which helps improve offerings for all students.
Students in Vermont take the SBAC in reading, writing and mathematics, as well as the NGSS in science. These tests give a broad view of each student’s progression relative to the Common Core (CCSS) and/or Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The SBAC is given once a year, in the spring, in grades 3 through 9. The big advantage for a school system with these assessments is the fact that they are given to all students across the state. This allows us to compare our performance to well-established norms, so that we can look for opportunities to improve our programming.
Student Participation & Results
Students are expected to participate in local and state assessments to the maximum extent possible. OSSU has developed guidelines for student assessment participation and accommodations.
Families who reside within OSSU boundaries and have students who are homeschooled should contact their town school to learn more about assessment opportunities.
How Decisions are Made
The OSSU Leadership Team, which is comprised of school Principals and OSSU Central Office Administrators, is ultimately responsible for the scope and design of OSSU's assessment system, including which OSSU-wide assessments are used, how frequently assessments are given, and how results will be incorporated into professional development and teaching/learning activities. Teachers, parents/guardians, and students all play critical roles in understanding and using assessment data to support learning and growth.
Assessments are selected based on the quality of information they provide as well as the least disruption to learning time. Current assessments include:
- POA and F&P: K,1,2 Early Literacy
- NWEA-MAP: K-11 Literacy and Math
- On-Demand Writing Prompts (ODWP): K-12
- SBAC: 3-9 Literacy and Math
- NGSS: 4,8,11 Science
- FitnessGram: 5,7,9 Physical Fitness
- NAEP: 4,8 Literacy, Math, etc.
Each summer, an assessment schedule is developed within OSSU central office for the following year to help school staff, parents/guardians, and students understand when SU, state, and national assessments will be administered.
All schools within OSSU have an assessment coordinator to assist with assessment planning and administration within each school building. Coordinators meet throughout the school year to review procedures and provide suggestions on how to improve processes for students and staff.