13 Mar Guide to Understand Your Student Assessment Data
Navigating the trove of student assessment data is cumbersome and – frankly – confusing and overwhelming at times. These often multi-hour or even day-long tests offer plenty of information to schools, parents, and students, but it is often hidden in data and difficult to pinpoint or fully comprehend. Let’s face it, people spend years in school learning to parse through, organize, visualize, and make meaningful conclusions and findings from data. It’s complicated! Yet, schools are expected to be able to interpret assessment data and transform it into meaningful curricular and instructional initiatives in a limited amount of time and with a finite amount of resources, which is a tall order.
Assessments are designed for special purposes. Scores offer differing interpretations of student learning, and the scoring methodologies are not always comparable: scale scores, percentiles, and proficiency levels…just to name a few! On top of that, references from which these scores are derived vary significantly. And, assessments also serve various purposes throughout the school year, making the nature of the data different from test to test.
When you look at your student assessment data, do you know what each assessment measures and how they score your students? Is the assessment measuring growth or performance, what about proficiency? Does the assessment predict success in the next grade level or the ability to pass an end of year exam? Are scores derived from norms or criteria?