Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:
We’ve shared many statistics and predictions regarding learning loss for students as a result of school closures and remote learning. One of the most important elements in addressing these statistics is often overlooked: the importance of high-quality assessments.
Assessments can be used for a variety of purposes. We rely on diagnostic testing when we first start working with students to identify student strengths and gaps. This information is then is crafted into a customized learning plan for that student to maximize the efficiency of our programs, build purpose, and ensure the best possible outcomes.
We also use assessment throughout our instruction to support learning. This may take on different forms:
- Careful, targeted questioning of students to learn more about their problem-solving process
- A short assessment after teaching a new skill to determine mastery; and
- Full-length practice tests to assess how students transfer their skills in a rigorous, timed setting
Formative assessment is used to evaluate progress and adjust instruction to best meet the student’s needs. We consider ongoing assessment an essential part of instruction.
Why Assess Now?
While we always consider assessment to be an important part of our programming, it’s even more important now. While it may be difficult to administer assessments—and certainly difficult to compare results in this unprecedented year to the past—we need to avoid losing important information about our students at a time when they need the most support.
On an individual level, diagnostic assessment can help us identify where a student might have lost or missed critical learning from the spring and can be used to guide support this school year. On a larger scale, assessment can be used to identify important emerging gaps between groups of students. All this information is essential in driving instructional actions that remediate learning loss.
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO