Assessment and Testing

Adopted July 1994 – Revised April 2010 – Education Commission

The California State PTA believes assessment must be an integral part of the instructional process without distracting from time allotted for delivery of required curriculum. The overall goal of any student assessment program should be to identify what students know and how well they can apply that knowledge. A statewide assessment program linked to established curriculum standards provides information on the effectiveness of instructional delivery and curriculum support materials. Assessment should be used to increase the opportunities for students, rather than deny opportunities through such practices as tracking or discrimination by gender, ethnicity, culture or diversity. Assessment tied to standards can provide important information to students, families, and communities about how students are progressing in their learning and can be used to identify and address inequalities in access to learning opportunities.

Content and performance standards should be developed with input from parents/guardians and the community. Content standards should reflect knowledge and skills in specific subject areas of the curriculum and be subject to periodic review.

Components of a sound assessment program should include:

  • Formats that are culturally and racially bias-free and in a language that the student understands;
  • Measurements of what has been taught;
  • Multiple measures which are performance-based, reflecting the different kinds of knowledge and skills that a student is expected to acquire;
  • Procedures and information that are clear and easy to understand;
  • Guidance on how student learning can be increased;
  • Provisions for maximum local and state control regarding all aspects of assessment;
  • Guidelines for appropriate use of data;
  • Strategies for monitoring the outcomes of assessments to ensure beneficial impact on teaching and learning;
  • Strategies for providing remedial and other instructional support for those students who fall below school district standards and expectation;
  • Scores provided that are reliable and valid; and
  • Clear communication to parents/guardians and community of an accurate profile of student and school performance.

The California State PTA also believes that at no time should a single test be considered the sole determinant of a student’s academic or work future. An assessment system built solely on tests and what can be easily measured has the potential of being misleading.

The California State PTA affirms that assessment and testing should be used for diagnostic purposes to support student achievement and should be linked to a curriculum that engages students’ intellect while providing a safe environment for students to develop problem solving, critical thinking, and reasoning skills.

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