Defining Balanced Systems of Assessment
A balanced approach to assessment includes a continuum of tools and strategies that are fair, varied, reliable, and sufficient measures of student learning.
- At the district level balance reflects a continuum of assessment tools whose data correlate and measure all dimensions of student learning rather than focusing on a single domain.
- At the school or grade level, balance requires the use of multiple measures to gain a big picture view of student performance. It includes standardized tests, typical classroom assessments, as well as informal observation. Often the data is used to inform whole group instruction or curriculum adjustments. In other words, the data is used to monitor the progress of a class or cohort of students.
- Balanced assessments at the individual level are used to form instructional groupings, identify interventions, monitor progress, determine a student’s specific learning needs, and provide opportunities for students to self-assess and reflect on their learning. Again, multiple measures (formal and informal) are used to guide decision-making.