Assessments

Assessing Student Performance

For students in CUSD 201, assessment is an essential part of the educational process. The most important goal of assessment is to improve student learning. Teachers need to have the knowledge and skill to design, administer, and interpret assessment results to make decisions about instruction, materials, and support. Assessment is an ongoing process and includes formal and informal practices that help monitor and lead to improvements to District programs. Informal assessments help teachers make quick but vital decisions about classroom practices and lesson development. Informal assessments can include observations, conversations, conferences, and short responses to instruction. Formal assessments are usually those that help teachers evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit. These are the types of assessments that are often used to calculate a grade.

In addition to classroom assessment practices, we utilize a few special types of assessments called benchmark or interim assessments. These types of assessments provide valuable information at different intervals throughout the year. The data provided by benchmark assessments help measure student achievement for major instructional goals in reading and math. The data is useful to identify patterns for particular students or groups of students as well as establishing baseline achievement data toward a standard or set of standards. Our teachers focus a great deal on growth in achievement and how students progress over time.

In recent years Illinois schools have implemented a number of changes related to learning standards and state assessments to ensure all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers. These current initiatives include:

  • Common Core Learning Standards — Districts are implementing the new more rigorous Illinois Learning standards, incorporating the Common Core, and seeing the benefits of engaged learning and improved understanding of core concepts.
  • ISBE School Report Card — The School Report Card provides a wide range of information and makes it easy for parents and community members to understand school performance, climate, and growth performance.
  • 5Essentials Survey — The 5Essentials is an evidence-based tool that is designed to drive improvement in schools and districts. The survey and data provide valuable information that helps schools and districts address areas of strength and concern to define steps for school improvement.

CUSD 201 uses the following benchmark or interim assessments to measure student growth:

  • i-Ready Diagnostic for Math - Administered to K-5 students in September, December, and May. Math tests take approximately 60 minutes each
    • online assessment is adaptive (students see questions based on how they are performing)
    • creates a personalized learning pathway proving online lessons based on performance on the i-Ready Diagnostic Assessment
    • identify skills and concepts individual students have learned or are ready to learn
    • guide daily instruction 
    • measure academic growth
    • diagnose instructional need
    • Parent Guide for i-Ready will provide more detailed information about how to read your child's score report and access online learning
  • Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System - Administered to K-5 in September, January, and May, or more frequently for progress monitoring, Reading tests take from 20-45 minutes
    • identify skills and concepts individual students have learned or are ready to learn
    • helps teachers get to know students as readers
    • diagnostic
    • guide instruction
    • measure academic growth
    • provides needed data for instructional decisions
    • may be used as part of teacher evaluation
  • EasyCBM - Administered to selected K-5 in September, January, and May, or more frequently for progress monitoring, Reading tests take 5-10 minutes
    • universal screener for kindergarten students
    • progress monitoring tool used for students in Tier II/III interventions in Math and Reading
    • diagnose instructional needs, helping interventionists provide specific instruction in skills that are needed

The following are the tests that are REQUIRED by the state of Illinois in compliance with federal testing requirements

  • Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) - Administered in the Spring to students with specific cognitive disabilities, REQUIRED by the state of Illinois
    • summarizes student performance
  • Illinois Assessment of Readiness for Grade 3-8 - Administered in Spring to all students in grades 3-8, Math tests delivered in four 60 minute sessions, Reading tests delivered in three 75-90 minute sessions, REQUIRED by the state of Illinois in compliance with federal testing requirements
    • measures student mastery of Illinois Learning Standards which are aligned with the Common Core
    • evaluation of curriculum alignment to state standards
    • school performance ratings
    • one of the data points determining course placement
    • Parent guide for PARCC  (Parent Guide in Spanish) will provide more detailed information about how to read your child's score report
  • KIDS Assessment - Administered to Kindergarten students throughout the first few weeks of school with teacher/student observation, REQUIRED by the state of Illinois 
    • measures readiness with respect to each of the following domains: self-regulation, social-emotional development, language and literacy development, and cognitive development in literacy and math
  • Illinois Science Assessment - Administered to students in grades 5, 8 and HS students who are taking Biology, REQUIRED by the state of Illinois in compliance with federal testing requirements
    • school performance ratings
  • SAT with Writing -Administered to all students in the 11th grade in April, REQUIRED by the state of Illinois in compliance with federal testing requirements
    • college placement
    • school performance ratings

Assessment Calendar for 2020-2021 School Year