Different Types of Assessments
While assessments and their subsequent results are an invaluable tool for teachers and integral to a child’s continued academic success, not all types of assessments hold the same value. The four types of assessments most common within education are formative assessments, summative assessments, criterion referenced assessments, and norm-referenced assessments.
- inform teachers’ instructional decisions to meet the needs of individual students, groups of students, or an entire class
- whether written or observational, these include the evaluative judgments teachers habitually make of their student’s skills and progress
- these assessments indicate proficiency or mastery of specified content, such as grade level or subject-specific standards
- commonly called tests, quizzes, final exams, end of unit projects, etc., and are typically the grades indicated on report cards
Criterion Referenced Assessments
- evaluate children’s performance based on a clearly established criteria, such as state educational standards
- include assessments such as PARCC, CMAS, ACCESS, etc.
- compare a child’s performance to that of a typical peer, at the same age and/or grade level, on items, subtests, and/or entire assessments
- these results are heavily relied upon to inform decisions regarding identifying a child as being gifted, and/or having a learning disability
To Opt In, Or To Opt Out…
If you are on the fence about having your child participate in state assessments (criterion referenced), then it comes down to the information you want from that assessment. Besides informing you as the parent/guardian about your child’s academic progress, these assessments are highly invaluable if you have any academic concerns for your child. Whether you feel your child is not being adequately challenged, or are concerned that your child may have a disability, criterion referenced assessments add another piece to the puzzle when you approach your child’s school regarding your concerns. While grades and anecdotal/observational reports from teachers are very helpful, in this day and age… data is essential!
If you have strong feelings about having your child participate or excusing/opting out of state assessments (criterion referenced), then do what you feel is best. Just remember to check with your school regarding the opt-out window, because while it is your right, it is also your responsibility to do so. At the end of the day, you know what is best for both you, your child/ren, and your family!
A Quick Reminder…
If you have begun the special education process, always remember that you have rights which are detailed in the document titled Procedural Safeguards. If your child’s school has suggested testing for the purpose of special education, you have the right to ask questions and share your concerns with the school team, as well and having time to think about your decision before agreeing to or denying formal testing. While schools may convey an urgency in assessing your child, it is still your choice!
Still have questions?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me for a free initial conference!