With the district’s change to a standards-based education system, students know exactly what they need to do to meet the standards (essentially, learning goals) for each subject.They know what learning targets, or skills, they need to master to meet each standard. And they can demonstrate that they understand the topic in more than one way, much different from the days when a final exam might count for 50% of the grade.
Instead of a high-stakes pencil-and-paper test, teachers conduct informal and formal assessments on an ongoing basis and provide students with feedback. Students and their parents can see clearly how much progress they are making and know what areas need more work to reach the goals.
Assessments can include projects, reports, presentations, daily class work, classroom discussions, and even pencil and paper tests and quizzes. With students who show understanding quickly, the teacher may increase the challenge by assigning a task that requires more complex thinking. If the student does not grasp the concept, the teacher will look for another way to present the skill or concept, and may provide the student with another way to show what they know.
Standards-based assessments provide students, teachers and parents with a clear, ongoing picture of what each student knows. There’s no mystery about how a grade was earned or determined. Test anxiety will evaporate as students realize that assessments are just showing what you know. If the student changes schools in the district, he can pick up exactly where he left off at the old school- because his teacher will know what standards and learning targets he has mastered, and which he hasn’t.
In short — standards-based assessment takes the guesswork out of what your student is or is not learning and encourages real learning, not temporary memorization for a high-stakes test