Assessment: need description

  • Why do you assess?
  • How is assessment used?

Assessment is the monitoring, recording and interpretation of student performance. It is used to provide data to be used to positively affect student learning.

A well-balanced assessment system includes a combination of summative assessments, benchmark assessments (end of cycle), formative classroom assessments and classroom assessment for learning (during the cycle of learning).

Professionals at all levels must evaluate and implement assessments based on their intended purpose and appropriate use. All assessments provide evidence of student learning that must be clearly communicated to the intended users in order to assure student success.

Effective assessments must measure higher order thinking and reasoning through the use of authentic performance based measures. Balanced assessments will increasingly utilize technology as a means of test administration, reporting, record keeping and monitoring student progress.

Manage it, use it effectively!



The West Virginia Department of Education has defined standards for principals that apply to culture as:



Locate and identify the types of assessment used in your school and/or classrooms.

  • With stakeholders, identify and list the types of assessment used in your school that effectively contribute to student achievement.
  • With stakeholders, identify and list the types of assessment your school that ineffectively contribute to student achievement.
  • Analyze the results of the identified assessments to create a school-wide set of best practices.
  • Develop a plan of action that addresses the identified needs and deficiencies of student achievement.
  • Repeat this process in an ongoing manner to monitor growth and progress.

Disaggregate the data to identify weak and strong areas. Identify the primary users of assessment.

Most importantly, interview your teachers.  How are they using the data from assessments to impact student achievement? How do you, as a principal, use data from assessments to impact student achievement?


  • What is it that you expect your students to learn? 
  • How will you know when they have learned it? 
  • How will you respond if they don’t learn?  Consider this… how will you respond if they do learn???
  • What are your personal beliefs about how assessment should be used to positively impact student learning?


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