We all know that standardized student assessment scores don’t provide the complete picture of student achievement, but we may have divergent ideas on what other benchmark data are needed. The My Two Cents question for the November/December issue of Principal is: What other measures—besides standardized student assessment scores—should be used to provide a full picture of student achievement. Why? 

Suzette Wordell, principal of Fort Barton School in Tiverton, Rhode Island, turns to local and other standardized assessments like DIBELS for benchmarking and progress monitoring data, which “helps to give us a picture not only of their achievement, but areas that need remediation in a timely manner. These assessments also inform instruction immediately, so our teachers can reach out and help every student learn.”

Melissa Stone, administrator of Crawford AuSable Schools in Grayling, Michigan, sees value in local common assessments as well as attendance, which she views as a measure of student growth. “If the student has poor attendance, then what did the teacher do to encourage the student to attend or the parent to be sure the student attended?” Stone asks.

What tools does your school use to measure student achievement?

Measures of Student Achievement

I am principal of Winchester Avenue School in Martinsburg, WV. We use multiple measures for student achievement ranging from teacher made assessments, Pre-tests / Mid-year tests / Post-tests that are part of adopted curricula, STAR Early Literacy / STAR Reading / STAR Math (Renaisance), West Virginia's Acuity Benchmarks in Reading and Math, and West Virginia Writes.

The benchmark assessments and STAR assessments predict how students will score on the state assessments in the spring, but they also guide instruction. We utilize the date from these and other progress monitoring measures to determine interventions for students and to plan instruction in the classrooms.

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