Balanced Assessment

Balanced assessment systems provide accurate and timely information about student achievement and learning to individual students, teachers, school and district administrators, as well as, local, state, and federal policymakers. More importantly, they encourage and support learning by helping students and teachers see that their continued efforts will result in success. Because they balance high quality periodic standardized tests with accurate day-to-day classroom assessments, balanced assessment systems, coupled with quality curriculum and instruction decisions, actually promote student learning. The assessment component of the Framework for Quality Learning is divided into five main parts: assessment of learning vs assessment for learning; identifying clear targets and using Bloom's Taxonomy; assessment methods and assessment development; rubric analysis and feedback; and, student involvement in assessment.

Questions to Consider

  • How can assessment support learning?
  • How can assessment tasks and performances engage students in thinking and working beyond the SOL?
  • What assessment strategies are best suited to certain content and skills?
  • How can feedback improve future performances?

In order for us to increase student learning and achievement, assessment is used as an instructional tool while learning takes place. It is an accountability tool used to determine if learning has occurred. Both purposes of assessment create an important balance toward understanding student learning.

Four key questions inform the construction of quality assessments:

  • Why Assess? (What's the purpose and who will use the results?)
  • Assess What? (What are the learning targets? Are they clear? Are they good?)
  • Assess How? (What method? Sampled how? Avoid bias how? Written well?)
  • Communicate/Provide Feedback How? (How do we manage the information? How do we report?)

For additional information on balanced assessment please read the article, Balanced Assessment: The Key to Accountability and Improved Student Learning.