School District 21 believes that the primary purpose of assessing student learning is for school staff members to be able to utilize that information in order to determine specific instructional outcomes and strategies that will best challenge individual students and groups of students based on what they already know and are able to do. At the same time, District 21 recognizes that large-scale assessments can, over time, provide useful information about the performance of specific programs, and this information can then be used to further improve such programs.
While some of these assessments, such as state testing and spring district-wide reading and mathematics tests serve to "summarize" student learning at that point in time, we also believe that all assessments of student learning are formative in that they can provide information to teachers that allow us to adjust classroom instruction for students based on our knowledge of what they know and are able to do.
In School District 21, our cohesive student assessment plan includes:
- State mandated testing such as the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT), the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA), and ACCESS for ELLs
- District-wide assessments, such as the Northwest Evaluation Association's Measures of Academic Progress and AIMSWeb.
- Common grade-level and school assessments in Reading, Mathematics, and Writing as well as in other areas of assessment
- Informal classroom assessments that can be quickly scored and analyzed to make up-to-the-minute adjustments to classroom instruction.