Assessment (Statewide)

Adopted July 1994 – Revised February 2014 – Education Commission

The California State PTA believes assessment must be an integral part of the instructional process and is essential to teaching and learning. 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 should measure individual student achievement over time and the effectiveness of instructional delivery and curriculum support.

The California State PTA believes that the systemic analysis and use of assessment data to guide instruction is a key factor for the improvement of student outcomes, achievement in high-poverty schools and closing the achievement gap.

To obtain an accurate assessment to facilitate the improvement of teaching and student performance, standards must be determined and clearly communicated to administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Content and performance standards should be developed with input from parents and the community. Content standards should reflect knowledge and skills in specific subject areas of the curriculum frameworks. Performance standards must indicate the level of mastery of knowledge and skills.

The California State PTA affirms that performance standards should reflect a curriculum that engages students to develop problem solving, critical thinking, and reasoning skills. Tests should not be limited to multiple choice or true/false questions but must provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate what they have learned. Student performance assessment must be linked to curricular goals that provide students with the skills to be successful in a global economy.

An effective statewide assessment program should provide strategies for monitoring the consequences of assessments to ensure beneficial impact on teaching and learning, include assessment instruments that have been field tested and provide scores that are valid and reliable. It should be integrated, longitudinal and comprehensive and be designed to:

  • Provide formative assessments that produce data that can inform instructional practices at the classroom level;
  • Make key data regarding student performance available and understandable to parents and community members in a timely manner; and
  • Meet the requirements for reporting a growth model to the federal government.

See issue-related guideline: Assessment and Testing.

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