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PA Data Powershot: Summative, Formative, Diagnostic and Benchmark Assessments: An Overview of Type & Purpose

A Companion Guide on Who, Why, and How to Use this Video

Who might use this PA Data Powershot?
The intended audience is District/LEA Leaders, School Leaders and Teacher Leaders.

Why use this PA Data Powershot?
This Powershot provides a brief overview of how leaders and educators can:

  • enhance understanding of the four types of student learning assessments and the benefits associated with using a range of student learning assessments
  • promote use of summative, formative, benchmark and diagnostic assessments at school and classroom levels
  • evaluate assessment planning to ensure a range of assessments are in place

How might you use this PA Data Powershot in your work?
There are a number of opportunities to make use of this Powershot! Below are some examples to get started.

  • Use at district level administrative meeting to ensure consistency in understanding the categories of student learning assessments
  • Share with school leadership teams to provide a framework for why school assessment calendars incorporate these four types of student learning data
  • View and discuss at school and grade/subject level meeting
  • Use in Induction with new teachers
  • Use in on boarding with new administrators (LEA/district or school level)
  • Share with veteran staff at faculty meetings to enhance the understanding of the purpose of each type of student learning data, and how it is to be used at the school, grade/subject, and classroom level
  • Show at the beginning of a professional development day or data day to ensure understanding of the purpose and use of the different types of student learning data
  • Use as an informal data “audit” where each grade/subject level team can determine where they are regarding the use of a variety of student learning data - are their gaps or overlaps within a grade/subject or with a particular student group?

What are possible follow up action steps?

  • Work with staff to identify student learning assessments by type:
    • Have each data team list all student learning assessments currently in use
    • After viewing the video, have staff match assessments given, the type of each, and how each is to be used
  • Create an informal “audit” checklist to ensure all four types of student learning data are being used at the grade/subject/classroom level
    • Are their gaps/overlaps for students within a subject/grade/student group? What types of assessments might we need to add or eliminate?
  • Create an informal “audit” to address WHAT and HOW staff use each type, including evidence that the following are occurring.
    • Are formative assessments being used to inform teaching and learning?
    • Are summative assessments being used to evaluate teaching and learning at the end of a specific unit of study or period of time?
    • Are diagnostic assessments being used to pinpoint skill gaps that might need focused instruction for individual/groups of students?
    • Are benchmark assessments being used to evaluate level of risk for students to meet end of course expectations?
      • Which students are on track at BOY and MOY?
      • Which students are at moderate or high risk at BOY and MOY?
      • What supports are we giving and are students responding?
    • Are teachers using a mix of types of student learning assessments to capture the full picture of teaching and learning?
  • Engage students in goal setting based on assessments

Links to Resources
You may access the resources referenced in the PA Data Powershot with the provided links below.