How Are Students Assessed in WSESU?
Assessment of student progress in WSESU takes many forms. Broadly speaking, we can identify four basic types of assessment:
Formative Assessment: this is the most prevalent form of assessment, and is part of teachers’ daily practice. Formative assessments are not graded, but rather are used by the teacher to determine next instructional steps. A formative assessment might be an “exit ticket” that is a short response to a question the teacher poses at the end of a lesson. The teacher uses student responses to gauge how well the lesson was learned and to identify what areas might need review and additional instruction the following day. Similarly, a teacher might ask for verbal responses to a question at a pre-planned moment in instruction, knowing from experience that students might be still harboring misconceptions. Next instructional steps in the lesson would be determined by the kinds of response the teacher receives. Homework is often used to determine if students are sufficiently understanding a lesson.
Current Benchmark Assessments
For reading starting mid-year in first grade, students are asked to read a standard passage for that grade level, and the number of words read correctly in one minute is used as a predictor of overall success in reading. We are not seeking to have students read as quickly as possible. Rather, we want to use students’ natural reading pace as an indicator of general reading to determine if additional support might be needed. For elementary math, we use an interview where each student is asked a set of math questions covering grade-appropriate math concepts and procedures. At older grades, an online-delivered assessment asks a series of questions designed to predict overall math performance.
Students in WSESU in grades 3-9 have taken the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) for Math and English Language Arts every spring for several years. This assessment takes two or three sessions of about an hour to complete. Results included an overall scale score for all standards and a sub-test score for different components of the assessment. Vermont has removed itself from the Consortium and will be administering a different assessment in Spring 2023. We anticipate providing additional information as the year progresses.