Assessment in the Middle School

Formative Assessment: Collecting and Interpreting Feedback

Formative assessment is commonly called Assessment for Learning. It can be simplified as “practice” towards achievement of a skill/concept (learning outcome/standard). It should never be assigned a grade, but progress towards meeting this standard should be recorded using a descriptor with accompanying specific feedback. At AAS, we use the numbers 1-4 to as descriptors of a student’s progress towards meeting (level 3) or exceeding (level 4) a learning outcome.  

At AAS, our teachers will provide:
- Students with multiple and varied opportunities to display their learning.
- Learners with frequent, timely, and specific feedback.
- Feedback that indicates next steps toward closing the gap between current and desired performance.
- Feedback that is meaningful and age-appropriate to the student.
- Quality feedback that clarifies the expectations for good performance, facilitates the development of self-assessment (reflection) in learning, and encourages the learners’ sense of self-efficacy and beliefs about learning

Summative Assessments: Judgments of the Level of Achievement at a Fixed Point in Time

Summative assessment is commonly called Assessment of Learning. Summative Assessments are used to judge and communicate the attainment of a learning outcome at the end of the learning period.The evaluation at the conclusion of a learning period that is used to judge student skills, understanding and knowledge occurs at the conclusion of a period of learning and is preceded by instruction, student practice, and formative feedback. Summative assessments will be aligned with AAS’s standards and benchmarks.

At AAS, our teachers will provide:
- Students with clear learning targets, assessment criteria, and methods used for determining achievement towards stated learning goal prior to learning and/or the summative assessment.
- Feedback that indicates next steps toward closing the gap between current and desired performance before the summative assessment.
- Summative Assessments that directly measure instructionally relevant learning outcomes as defined by the AAS curriculum.

Teachers regularly use the results of both formative and summative assessments (internalor external) to inform and guide instructional decisions.

Assessment Rubrics

Rubrics are often used to assess a student’s progress towards meeting the stated learning objectives. Rubrics are specific sets of criteria that clearly define for both student and teacher the range of acceptable and unacceptable performance and learning. Criteria define descriptors of ability at each level of performance and assign values to each level. Levels referred to are proficiency levels that describe a continuum of products and performances from exemplary to unacceptable or needing improvement.
In the AAS Middle School, the values assigned for most rubrics for both Summative and Formative Assessments are the numbers 4, 3, 2, and 1. As a descriptor, 3 is proficient (meeting the learning outcome), and a 4 is beyond our expectations (exceeding the learning outcome).

Please click here to read more about our assessment philosophy and design.

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