Educators have known for many years that the traditional assessment model of letter or percentage grades, is imperfect to say the least. This is why many schools are going through a process to bring our assessment practices in line with research based best practices. As our school recently engaged the middle school parent community on this topic, we had an opportunity to clarify our objectives when it comes to meaningful student assessment. Below are some of the concepts which were presented during a recent parent meeting. The presentation began with the school mission.
The involvement of parents is of crucial importance as a school goes through the change process. An understandable concern often raised is how standards-based reporting might effect high school transcripts and college admissions. In fact, with an approach which more accurately reflects learning, college admissions officers would have greater confidence that the high school transcript is an accurate rendition of student achievement. Schools that use a standards based assessments would of course ensure that high school transcripts remain appropriate for university admissions.
In order to best serve the needs of student learners, many schools around the world are grappling with ways to improve assessment practices. Ultimately, moving to a standards based approach will positively impact classroom practice as well, as it focuses the teaching on learning outcomes as opposed to other extraneous factors. Dispositions such as late work, effort and behavior are of course important competencies and should be assessed separately from student achievement.