Assessments such as tests, student work, and performance tasks are used to:
- Measure student growth
- Describe how close students are to meeting grade-level expectations
- Guide teachers in planning next steps in instruction
- Evaluate whether curriculum resources are effective
To learn more about different types of assessments and their purposes, see this chart.
The STAR Assessment is a district assessment administered to all students three times/year in math and literacy. The STAR serves as a screener to identify students needing additional instruction and support. It also serves as a benchmark throughout the year to see if students are making the appropriate expected progress.
The MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) is a state-wide test that is given in grades 3-8 (math and reading) and grades 5 and 8 (science, technology, and engineering). High school students also take MCAS math, reading, and biology tests in Grade 10. Passing the high school MCAS is a graduation requirement. Students have multiple opportunities to retake the test if needed. More information about the MCAS can be found here.
2023 MCAS Schedule can be found here.
ACCESS testing: Multilingual learner (ML) students are assessed annually to measure their proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English, as well as the progress they are making in learning English. These tests are administered in January/February. More information about ACCESS testing can be found here.
Informal assessments: The majority of assessments occur on a day-to-day basis within the classroom. Teachers keep checklists, do “exit tickets” to check for understanding, give quizzes, and examine student work. This provides a way for teachers to make adjustments to their instruction nimbly.
My child didn’t score well on an assessment … now what?
Following an assessment, teachers look closely at the data to determine next steps for each student. What gaps or misconceptions kept the student from being successful? The teacher decides whether to reteach the concept to the entire class, a small group, or an individual student and whether to use alternate materials or strategies. Sometimes additional services and supports are needed.
Caregivers with questions or concerns about student test results are encouraged to connect with the child’s teacher for clarification. A collaborative home-school partnership can be very helpful in addressing learning challenges.
See the District Assessment Calendar to find out when district and state tests will be given.
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