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Assessments are administered in schools on a regular basis and the results are used to assist all of us in making wise decisions regarding the teaching-learning situation throughout the year. A child is a total person who is best appreciated through the use of multiple measures. By recognizing that children are complex and by using a variety of evaluation tools, we can better identify strengths, areas needing improvement, and areas emerging or developing.
We provide four types of assessments: "authentic" projects, criterion-referenced assessments, norm-referenced tests, and state mandated tests. Each tool gives us different information.
Authentic assessments are hands-on, performance-based evaluations. Daily, in both formal and informal ways, teachers monitor children's progress via observation, oral and written feedback, large and small group discussions, homework, projects, quizzes, reports (written and oral), labs, student presentations, and teacher-made tests.
Criterion-referenced tests measure how well students have mastered a specified set of skills or concepts. The test results show how many and which of these objectives have been mastered by an entire grade of students and help us to evaluate program effectiveness.
The purpose of the norm-referenced test is to compare a child's overall level of achievement to the levels of all children of the same age or grade placement in the group of students taking the test (norm group). The test results will distribute the children along the familiar bell-shaped curve. A norm-referenced test tells nothing directly about achievement with respect to curriculum objectives.