The Department of Assessment, Planning, and Evaluation believes that every student has a right to a high-quality system of assessments. Assessment is an essential component of instruction, provides evidence of competence with meaningful content and practices, includes a variety of strategies and data sources, and informs feedback to students, instructional decisions, and program development. Assessments serve as an integral role in achieving productive teaching and learning with the following four functions:
Monitoring students’ progress to promote student learning
Making instructional decisions to modify instruction to facilitate student learning
Evaluating students’ achievement to summarize and report students’ demonstrated understanding at a particular moment in time
Evaluating programs to make decisions about instructional programs and partnerships
“In a high-quality system of assessments, a variety of different assessments work together to provide coherent feedback on student learning and outcomes, and each assessment should be designed for its specific use and purpose. Together, assessments in a high-quality system are built not just to measure content knowledge but also to measure mastery of the full array of knowledge, skills, and behaviors needed for success in K-12 and beyond…”. (Education Writers Association, 2017). The collection and use of assessment information and insights are part of the ongoing learning process at New Brunswick Public Schools where assessment practices intentionally highlight and advance the learning process.
Our Department’s goal is to prepare and empower teachers and students with access to descriptive, accurate, and timely feedback to improve instruction and advance learning.
The content of assessments should match challenging subject matter standards and be connected to contexts of application. Learning should be assessed based on observations, oral questioning, significant tasks, projects, demonstrations, collections of student work, and students’ self-evaluations. Teachers and administrators must engage in systematic analysis of the available evidence. Teachers’ close assessment of students’ understandings, feedback from peers, and student self-assessments are a central part of the social processes that mediate the development of intellectual abilities, construction of knowledge, and formation of students’ identities (Shepard, 2000).
In addition to assessments being well aligned with curriculum and pedagogy, assessments should include high-leverage tasks to generate important information about students’ understanding of the most important concepts or ideas in a unit. Coherence between assessment tasks and core concepts in the units of study is vital. Assessment content and formats should more directly embody thinking and reasoning abilities that are the ultimate goals of learning (Frederiksen & Collins, 1989; Resnick & Resnick, 1992).
Shepard, L. 2000. The Role of Classroom Assessment in Teaching and Learning. CSE Technical Report. Los Angeles, CA.
New Brunswick Public Schools uses assessments formatively and summatively to uncover student and teacher learning needs.
Provide multiple opportunities and methods for teachers to assess students’ learning during teaching
Carried out during the instructional process for the purpose of improving teaching and learning
Functions as evidence about student achievement and is elicited, interpreted, and used by teachers, learners, or their peers to make decisions about the next steps in instruction
Designed to assess students’ learning at the end of units and sets of lessons which include scaffolded and independent tasks that asks students to use, apply, and synthesize what they have learned
Evaluate student learning, knowledge, proficiency, or success at the conclusion of an instructional period, like a unit, course or program.