Assessment and Testing (Statewide)

Adopted April 2016 – Education Commission

California State PTA believes assessment must be an integral part of the instructional process and is essential to teaching and learning but must not distract from time allotted for delivery of regular 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 should measure individual student achievement over time and the effectiveness of instructional delivery and curriculum support.

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.

California State PTA further believes that assessment aligned with meaningful content 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.

California State PTA affirms that assessment and testing should be used to support teaching and learning and that performance standards should reflect a curriculum that engages students and assists them in developing 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 skills to be successful in the global economy.

Components of a sound assessment program should include:

  • Formats that are culturally and racially bias-free and in a language that the student understands;
  • Measurement 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 to use assessment results to enhance student learning Guidelines for appropriate use of data;
  • Scores that are reliable and valid and provided to educators and parents; and
  • Clear communication to parents/guardians and community of an accurate profile of student and school performance provided in a timely manner.

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.

 

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