The USD 231 Board of Education supports a local assessment plan as one indication of the success and quality of the total education in the school district. With time and effort, the local assessment plan produces:

  • A comprehensive testing program that monitors a variety of achievement targets for a variety of purposes;

  • Data-driven decision-making regarding curriculum, assessment, instruction, and related programs;

  • Teachers and administrators who are knowledgeable about data analysis, motivating students to do well on tests, test security policies, and strategies for teaching test-taking skills;

  • Increased public awareness of student achievement.

Acadience Reading (K-8)
Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills

  • screening test used to measure a student’s reading ability, monitor progress, and provide individualized support; 

  • helps teachers make decisions about lesson planning, grouping, and differentiated instruction;

  • testing occurs 3 times within a school year- beginning of the year (August), middle of the year (December), and end of the year (May);

  • progress monitoring will occur between testing windows

  • required assessment for grades K-8

Acadience Math (K-6)
Assessment used to measure the acquisition of mathematical skills.

  • screening test used to measure essential skills (early numeracy, computation, and problem-solving), monitor progress, and provide individualized support; 

  • helps teachers make decisions about lesson planning, grouping, and differentiated instruction;

  • testing occurs 3 times within a school year- beginning of the year (August), middle of the year (December), and end of the year (May);

  • progress monitoring will occur between testing windows

  • required assessment for grades K-6

NWEA MAP (1-10)
Measure of Academic Progress

  • interim test designed to determine a student’s instructional level and growth throughout the year;

  • test results will help teachers provide personalized instruction based on individual strengths and areas of needed improvement;

  • tests are administered in two areas (Reading and Math)

  • required assessment for grades 1-10;

  • testing occurs during three windows -

    Fall, Winter, Spring 

 Kansas Assessment Program (KAP) (Grades 3-8, 10-11)
The Kansas Assessment Program, commonly referred to as the state assessment, includes a variety of tests aligned to Kansas’ content standards, which help educators and policymakers evaluate student learning and meet the requirements for federal and state accountability.  Students in grades 3 - 8, and 10 test in the spring on reading and math; students in grades 5, 8, and 11 test in the spring on science; and students in grades 4, 7, and 11 test each spring in social studies.  

Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) (Grades 3-8, 10-11)
The DLM Alternate Assessment System assists students with significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate what they know in ways that traditional multiple-choice tests cannot. The DLM system maps a student’s learning throughout the year. The system will use items and tasks that are embedded in day-to-day instruction. In this way, testing happens as part of instruction, informing teaching and benefiting students.  The subjects tested are English language arts, Mathematics, and Science.

KELPA (K-12)
Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment

  • assessment required by the state for ELL students grades K-12;

  • can be used as a screening test for students whose first language is other than English 

  • measures the proficiency of English Language Learners in 4 Domains: listening, speaking, reading, writing;

  • typically administered during 2nd Semester (exact dates determined by the state)

 Pre-ACT (Grades 9-10)
PreACT simulates the ACT testing experience within a shorter test window on all four ACT test subjects: English, math, reading, and science. Results predict future success on the ACT test and provide both current achievement and projected future ACT test scores on the familiar 1-36 ACT score scale. Please contact your student's high school counselor for further information.
ACT (Grade 11)
The ACT is a standardized test produced by ACT, Inc. Colleges and universities use students' scores on the ACT in the admissions process as a measure of college readiness and, in some cases, for course placement purposes. ACT sets national test dates. Each spring, the state of Kansas funds and offers ACT testing free to all juniors. Please contact your student's high school counselor for further information.

WorkKeys (Grade 11)
ACT WorkKeys determines workplace skill assessments: (1) Applied Math – applying mathematical reasoning to work-related problems, (2) Workplace Documents – comprehending work-related reading materials such as memos, bulletins, policy manuals, and governmental regulations, and (3) Graphic Literacy – using information from sources such as diagrams, floor plans, tables, forms, graphs, and charts  ACT sets national test dates. The state of Kansas offers a state-funded opportunity for all juniors to take the WorkKeys test.  This is offered one time at no cost to the student. Please contact your student's high school counselor for further information.

College Board PSAT/NMSQT (Grades 9-11)
The PSAT is the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.  It measures critical reading, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills.  The test is offered for 10th graders as a practice test and for 11th graders for consideration for the National Merit Program.  By taking the PSAT/National Merit exam, students can practice for the actual SAT college entrance exam, get information from colleges by participating in the Student Search Service, and enter scholarship programs.  You will also be able to use the College Board QuickStart program to access free resources and information about college and career planning.

Advanced Placement (AP) Assessments (Optional, High School)
Advanced Placement (AP) is a program created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students.  The AP curriculum for each subject is created for the College Board by a panel of experts and college-level educators in that field of study. For a high school course to have the AP designation, it must be audited by the College Board to ascertain that it satisfies the AP curriculum. Students may opt to take the AP examinations for various courses in May. American colleges and universities often grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations, which are scored using a 1-5-point system.  AP Exam dates are set by the College Board.

Formal and Informal Assessment

Formal assessments are systematic, data-based tests that measure what students have learned.  Formal assessments determine student proficiency or mastery of content and can be used for comparisons against certain standards.

Informal assessments are spontaneous forms of assessment that can easily be incorporated into day-to-day classroom activities and measure student performance and progress. Informal assessments are content and performance-driven.

Informal assessment cannot replace formal assessment. We need both, as one complements the other, depicting accurate pictures of students.  We can use either type to improve teaching and learning. The type of assessment we use should match the intended purpose of the assessment. For example, if we want to assess academic achievement and compare it with other students, we use formal assessment. If we want to use assessment to monitor student progress or use assessment to improve instruction, we use informal assessment.

How Results are Used by Teachers

Using Assessment Results to Plan for Instruction
If assessments benefit the child, then testing should be linked to learning experiences and instruction. If they are to be fair and authentic, they include all types of strategies that provide a comprehensive picture of each child’s progress and needs. The teacher selects the assessment methods that are relevant to the information needed and uses the results in planning for curriculum and instruction. This assumes the teacher is concerned with individual rates of learning and is prepared to address individual differences. The learning activities that are available in the classroom and through teacher instruction reflect not only curriculum goals established by the school but also how each child can best achieve these goals.

Using Assessment Results to Report Progress
Just as we need multiple assessment strategies to assess students, these assessment strategies should be used to report how the student has developed and learned. If the assessment system is comprehensive, the method to report the child’s progress should also be comprehensive and provide many examples of how the child demonstrated growth and achievement. Parents receive limited information from reports that rate a child as average, above average, or below average. Likewise, a report indicating satisfactory or unsatisfactory progress tells little about the student’s learning experiences and accomplishments. Rather than a snapshot of progress, a comprehensive picture should be conveyed.

Using Assessment Results to Evaluate the Instructional Program
The assessment process includes an evaluation of the effectiveness of the teacher’s instruction and the activities and materials used in the classroom. The teacher uses assessment information to determine whether instructional strategies were successful for students to learn new concepts and skills or whether new approaches are needed. 

With this type of evaluative reflection, the teacher demonstrates that assessment should focus not on student achievement but rather on how well students progress and the quality of instruction on growth. If some students need additional opportunities to learn information and skills, the teacher considers how more varied activities might accomplish the goal. Should the concepts be incorporated into different types of activities, or should they become a part of a continuum that includes a new direction or focus? Students need many opportunities to learn new skills, and encountering concepts in new contexts provides meaningful routes to understanding and the ability to use what is being learned.