In the world of schools there are many types of assessments. Some are formative and others are summative. Summative assessments are typically end of the chapter or semester types of tests. Formative assessments are like pop quizzes-short assessments designed for a teacher to determine a child’s level of understanding of a topic.
The testing we do three times a year using NWEA Map Growth is an example of a formative assessment. Our students in K-8 take this assessment in the fall and spring. Our K-5 students also take it in the winter. The NWEA Map Growth test does measure progress, but more importantly, it is designed to help teachers adjust their instruction to meet the needs of students. It is a way to identify gaps in instruction and areas that need more focus.
MAP Growth is a computer-adaptive test. If a child answers a question correctly, the next question is more challenging. If he/she answers incorrectly, the next one is easier. This type of assessment challenges all learners.
Teachers conduct ongoing evaluation of students throughout the school year. We formally communicate with parents at our October mid-trimester conferences, with our mid-trimester reports (for grades 4-8), and with report cards three times a year. We also hold parent/teacher conferences in the spring. Parents are always welcome to contact teachers for an up to date summary of how their children are doing in a subject or class. Please stay in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns; and our teachers will do the same.