In education, the term assessment refers to the wide variety of methods that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, and skill acquisition of students from preschool through college and adulthood. While assessments are often equated with traditional tests—especially our standardized tests (PSSA’s and Keystones) developed by the PA Department of Education to large populations of students—educators use a diverse array of assessment tools and methods to measure student’s abilities and understanding in the classroom. While assessments come in many complex forms, and they are used for a wide variety of purposes, the following descriptions provide an overview of a few major forms of educational assessment used here at Southern Tioga:
Summative assessments are used to evaluate student learning at the conclusion of a specific instructional period—typically at the end of a unit, course, semester, program, or school year. Summative assessments are graded tests, assignments, or projects that are used to determine whether students have learned what they were expected to learn during the defined instructional period.
Standardized assessments (a type of summative assessment) are designed, administered, and scored in a standard, or consistent, manner. They use a multiple-choice format, though some include open-ended and short-answer questions. For more details about our standardized tests, refer to these resources:
- PSSA’s (Taken by all students grade 3 - 8)
- Keystone’s on SAS or PDE’s Webpage (Taken at the end of our Algebra I, Biology, and Literature Course)
Diagnostic assessments are designed to measure how well students have mastered the specific knowledge and skills described in local, state, or national learning standards. For more detailed information on our diagnostic assessments, refer to the following:
Benchmark assessments are used to evaluate where students are in their learning progress and determine whether they are on track to performing well on future assessments, such as standardized tests or end-of-course exams. Benchmark assessments are administered periodically during a course or school year. For more detailed information on our Benchmark assessments, refer to the following:
- Study Island (used in grades 3, 7, 8, & some high school courses)
- 4Sight Common Core Assessments (grades 4 & 5)
Formative Assessments are tools teachers use to give feedback to students and use student knowledge to guide classroom instruction. These assessments are not graded, and take a variety of forms. Formative assessments are commonly said to be for learning because educators use the results to modify and improve teaching techniques during an instructional period. For more detailed information on our formative assessments assessments click here.