Seattle Public Schools

2080 Assessment

  1. Belief/Philosophy Statement
    The Board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools, in alignment with Policy No. 0010, Instructional Philosophy, believes that assessments are a critical component of our education system used to inform instruction through identification of student strengths, assessment of learning growth, and diagnosis of barriers and areas of support.
  2. Purpose of Assessment
    The district utilizes the core principles of the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) process which combines a district-wide balanced assessment framework, decision-making and a multi-tiered services delivery model to improve educational and social and emotional behavioral outcomes for all students. A balanced assessment framework is a system comprised of multiple assessments (formative and summative), used to gather a variety of types of information in order to support student learning. A common, balanced assessment framework, designed in partnership with the district’s labor partners per the collective bargaining agreement, allows a team of educators to know each student’s strengths and needs.

Principles of Effective Assessment

  • Allow Families to:
    • Understand their child’s progress
    • Provide support outside of school
    • Celebrate learning and student accomplishments
  • Allow Students to:
    • Demonstrate their learning and understanding
    • Reflect on their learning progress and outcomes
    • Guide future action (including setting learning goals)
  • Allow Teachers to:
    • Collect data that both informs student progress and documents growth
    • Guide the direction of future instruction in regards to content and differentiation
    • Collaboratively reflect on student needs
  • Allow Schools/Districts to:
    • Evaluate the impact of curriculum and instructional practices across school boundaries
    • Identify and respond to the performance patterns over time of schools or groups of student and staff populations
    • Follow all legal mandates and contractual obligations
  1. Types of Assessments:
  2. Assessments are presented in a variety of formats in order to serve different purposes, all of which may be utilized to inform instruction and programmatic decisions (e.g., curricula, professional development) in order to accelerate achievement for each and every student. Four general types of assessments within the balanced assessment framework are used in Seattle Public Schools:

    1. Formative: A range of formal and informal assessment procedures conducted on a short-term and frequent basis during the learning process in order to modify teaching activities to improve student learning. Formative assessments are generally classroom-based and integrated into the instructional process. (e.g., exit slips, observations of students, teacher questioning, short quizzes)
    2. Interim/Benchmark: Administered periodically at set intervals during the school year to evaluate where students are in their learning progress toward attaining end-of-year learning standards. Interim assessments are more formal than classroom assessments. However, interim assessments play a formative role in helping educators make decisions about instruction. Interim assessments demonstrate which standards have been learned over time, and may be predictive of performance on summative assessments. Interim assessments may be standardized, normed against a comparative population, or judged against a set of criteria. (e.g., formal assessment of oral reading or computer scored assessment administered at the end of a quarter or trimester)
    3. Summative:Used to evaluate student learning, skill acquisition, and academic achievement of learning standards at the conclusion of a defined instructional period such as the end of a project, unit, course, semester, program, or school year. Summative assessments may be standardized, normed against a comparative population, or judged against a set of criteria. (e.g., end-of-year state-mandated assessments)
    4. Performance: Typically require students to complete a complex task. Performance assessments measure the acquisition of large bodies of diverse knowledge and skills over a period of time. (e.g. rubrics to assess writing assignment, science experiment, speech, presentation, performance, or long-term project)
  1. Assessment Selection
  2. The School Board recognizes the need to select both formal and informal assessment tools that are high-quality, culturally responsive, provide valuable data, and are free from bias. All assessments for district-wide use will be reviewed for approval by the School Board, with the exception of any test that is mandated for state or federal accountability. District-wide assessments are those that are funded centrally and used by all applicable district schools. All assessments that have contracts exceeding the threshold set forth in Policy No. 6220 will be reviewed for approval by the School Board. Assessments should be reviewed with input from stakeholders, in alignment with any applicable procedures outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, with consideration for how each assessment reflects our district’s commitment to a balanced assessment framework.

    The SPS-SEA Joint Assessment Steering Committee will review and identify standardized or common assessments to recommend for building, regional, or district-wide use, as well as developing recommendations for reducing the impact of testing on instructional time and student access to resources. Assessments recommended by the SPS-SEA Joint Assessment Steering committee will contain a discussion of why the assessment was chosen, including why the test is valid, reliable, and unbiased, with consideration for the needs of students receiving special education and English Language Learner services. In order to implement a balanced assessment framework, the SEA-SPS Assessment Steering committee will consider the time and impact of assessments on students. In addition, an Assessment Advisory Committee will be formed annually with representatives from Teaching and Learning, SEA, PASS and the community to provide implementation recommendations to the SPS-SEA Joint Assessment Steering Committee. In service of transparency, an annual assessment report will be prepared for the full board which indicates all assessments being used district-wide within Seattle Schools, as well as an overview of the selection process being utilized for assessments not mandated by State or Federal Requirements.

  1. Legal requirements:
  2. The District will implement and comply with the administration of all student assessments required by Washington state and federal law.

  1. Parent/Guardian & Student Rights Related to Assessment:
  2. The Board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools, in alignment with Policy No. 0010, Instructional Philosophy, believes that students have a right to a safe, secure, and supportive environment for instruction and assessment. Students have a right to participate in an assessment environment that is conducive to their best performance. Students who do not participate in district or state assessments for any reason have a right to appropriate learning activities and shall not be subjected to punitive or exclusionary treatment for non-participation.

    Seattle Public Schools recognizes that families have a right to be informed of the assessments being utilized to support student learning and measure progress along standards. In addition, the School Board recognizes the right of parents/guardians to be notified of all state and district-mandated student assessments, including objectives and educational benefits, rights of refusal and effects of non-participation, and to receive the results from these assessments in a timely manner.

    The district will make available a public calendar of required state and district assessments by August 15th of each year. Parents/guardians have the right to view their students state testing records per guidelines by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and appeal assessment scores required for graduation. Student information as related to assessment is protected under the guidelines of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

  1. Annual Review:

  2. The Superintendent shall annually review the assessment processes and procedures to determine if the purposes of the program are being accomplished.