Assessments serve two major purposes, the first being to inform instruction and provide supports to students. The second purpose of assessments is to provide accountability. At Dover Area School District (DASD) we incorporate standardized, summative, formative, and benchmark assessments, which together provide date to inform our instructional decisions.
Standardized assessments include the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Keystone Examinations, Pennsylvania Alternative Systems Assessments (PASA) ACCESS assessment for English Language Learners (ELL), and National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI). These assessments measure growth of individual students and are reported on our district report card.
Summative assessments are used to evaluate student learning, skill acquisition, and academic achievement at the conclusion of a defined instructional period. Typically summative assessments are at the end of a project, unit, course, semester, program, or school year.
Teachers complete formative assessments in the classroom during the learning process in order to modify teaching strategies and learning activities to improve student achievement. Formative assessments include formal, informal, and diagnostic assessments to ensure we are meeting the needs of the individual student.
Benchmark Assessments are given periodically during the school year to provide a "snap-shot" of students' progress and provide information to teachers. This information can help the teacher to predict how a child might perform on the summative assessments and then be used to adjust instruction to support an individual’s learning. Additionally, looking at the combined student results on these assessment can help the school system adjust curriculum or improve instructional materials or strategies across the grade level.