​Student Assessment​​

Our world has become a data-driven society and the education arena is not immune. Educators use a variety of data points to inform their instruction in two ways: 

 1. To help students learn
 2. To improve their own instruction

Summative assessments, such as MCAS, provide parents and educators with a snapshot of what an individual student knows at the micro level up to where a district displays strengths and areas of improvement in comparison to other districts at the macro level. Therefore, districts can look for trends to determine causes for concerns, such as resources, professional development, and staffing. 

Benchmark assessment systems, such as Renaissance Learning, provide parents, educators, and students targeted data about student performance on standards for a particular student, class, grade, or school. When administered multiple times in a given school year, this real time data informs educators as to what concepts and skills students have mastered, are ready to learn, and should be learned in the future. Therefore, educators may plan their differentiated instruction based on what students are ready to learn, as opposed to what comes next in a textbook. Additionally, benchmark assessments indicate how much growth students are making over time. This data helps educators determine if students need additional support or resources while learning. 

Educators also use a variety of formative assessments throughout the year to gain even further, more discrete information. Formative assessments range from dip-sticking and exit tickets to chapter tests and performance based assessments. Formative assessments help educators learn where each student is at in the understanding of a concept, but is also a great way for educators to use that information to reflect on their own practice.​


The Common Core State Standards are a set of internationally benchmarked K-12 educational standards to ensure every students' college and career readiness in English language arts and mathematics. These standards increase rigor in every school, and provide clarity and consistency for what all students need to know once they graduate from high school. To date, 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoan Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Anchorage, AK School District have voluntarily adopted CCSS.​

- From the National PTA website
Common Core State Standards Initiative

Common Core – State Department of Education​



​The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. These high quality, computer-based K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy give teachers, schools, students, and parents better information whether students are on track in their learning and for success after high school, and tools to help teachers customize learning to meet student needs. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.​​

​​- From the PARCC Online​ website​


The PARCC Assessment

MA is a Governing State in PARCC Consortium​