Assessments are an integral part of instruction. They are used to help determine whether the goals of education are being met. Assessments affect decisions about grades, placement, advancement, instructional needs, curriculum and, in some cases, funding. Assessments prompt teachers to ask hard questions: "Are we teaching what we think we are teaching?" "Are students learning what they are supposed to be learning?" "Is there a way to improve learning?"
Here at Niles Elementary School District 71, we use a variety of assessments to evaluate student progress toward college and career readiness. Current assessments include:
- The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests are administered in grades 2 through 8 in the fall and spring of each school year and in the winter for students who are receiving interventions. MAP is a computerized adaptive measure that is used to measure growth in reading, language usage and math. Individual student achievement in these areas is also compared to other Culver students in the same grade and to a national group.
The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) is the state assessment and accountability measure for Illinois students enrolled in a public school district. IAR assesses the New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core and will be administered in English Language Arts and Mathematics. IAR assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics will be administered to all students in grades 3-8.
- The Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) for students in grades 5 and 8 is administered in an online format. It is aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards for Science incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which were adopted in 2014.
- ACCESS for ELLs is a standards-based, criterion-referenced test designed to measure proficiency in using and understanding English for students whose primary language is not English. It assesses students' social and instructional English proficiency as well as their ability to understand the terminology associated with language arts, mathematics, science and social studies within the school context across the four language domains (listening, speaking, reading and writing).
- Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) is a method teachers use to find out how students are progressing in basic academic areas such as math, reading and writing. This information is gathered in fall, winter and spring. CBMs are helpful because they provide information on a students’ progress toward meeting academic goals.
- Fountas & Pinnell Reading Assessment Resources (F&P) are used to evaluate students' reading and comprehension abilities with reliable and robust universal screening that is aligned to Leveled Literacy Intervention. This assessment determines each child's instructional level for guided reading according to the Fountas & Pinnell A-Z Text Level Gradient™.