Assessment

2014-2015 ASSESSMENT CALENDAR
Check with your school for exact testing dates within these test windows.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Video: Different Tests-Different Results

Welcome to the Assessment Department website for the Issaquah School District. This site provides information about state, district and college-readiness assessments.

Assessment Philosophy

The Issaquah School District believes that an effective system for improving K-12 learning requires implementation of a comprehensive assessment system. A comprehensive assessment system connects curriculum, instruction and assessment by aligning instruction to curriculum standards and by using assessments to determine students’ status and progress on these standards.

The Issaquah School District’s assessment system is designed to serve two major purposes: instructional support and educational accountability. Current research and discussions of assessment approaches have led to a distinction between these two purposes as assessment of learning and assessment for learning. This distinction among assessments is based on the function they serve. State, district, building level, and classroom assessments may be formative or summative depending on how the information is used. While it is convenient to describe the components of a comprehensive assessment system separately, the effectiveness of the system depends on the interconnections of the parts.

Link to complete paper-Improving Learning Through a Comprehensive Assessment System

State Testing

Overview-Smarter Balanced NEW State tests
Washington will replace some of our state tests with new exams aligned to the Common Core standards in math and English language arts. The new exams are part of a comprehensive system called “Smarter Balanced.”  

Which tests will students take this year?
Washington students are tested regularly by the state to assess their progress as they move through school. Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, state tests include:

  • New Smarter Balanced tests: English language arts (ELA) and math 
  • Measurements of Student Progress (MSP): Science test for grades 5 and 8
  • High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE): Reading and writing tests
  • End-of-Course (EOC): Math and biology tests taken as students finish algebra 1, geometry, and biology

More information on state testing requirements can be found at: http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/default.aspx

About one percent of students participate in the Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) a challenging program for students in special education. More information about the alternative assessment system can be found at: http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/GraduationAlternatives/default.aspx

High school students must pass tests, or state approved alternatives, to be eligible to graduate. Required tests vary by expected year of graduation. A student’s expected year of graduation is set when he/she enters the 9th grade. The state legislature determines graduation requirements. More information on graduation requirements can be found at: http://sbe.wa.gov/GradRequirements/ClassOf2015.php#assessments

Why do we need standardized tests like our state exams or Smarter Balanced?
Standardized tests are aligned to what students are learning in the class. These tests serve as independent, objective measures of how students are doing. Clear, understandable test scores help teachers and parents work together to adjust their approach and better meet students’ needs. Standardized tests also provide data that we use to determine, for example, what’s working in special education, or whether race-or  income- based achievement gaps continue to persist.

What makes the new Smarter Balanced tests better than our current state exams?
First, the Smarter Balanced tests assess the state’s new Common Core learning standards. Both the standards and the new tests require students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems and write persuasively. The new tests will be administered online, giving students a better testing experience and returning results faster so teachers and parents can use the results to help students.

Will the new Smarter Balanced tests be harder than our current exams?
Yes, but that’s because they are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, which are more difficult that our state’s former learning standards in math, reading, and writing. Our current state exams measure basic skills. Smarter Balanced, reflecting Common Core standards, tests students at a college-and-career readiness level. Beginning in grade three, students are assessed to be sure they are on track to be college and career ready when they graduate from high school.

Other State Assessments

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):
NAEP is a national assessment that allows educational achievement to be compared across states.  Federal law requires every state to give the NAEP in reading and math at grades 4 and 8 every two years. States and school districts that receive Title I federal funding to aid educationally disadvantaged students in high poverty areas must participate in these assessments.

Second Grade Fluency and Accuracy Assessment:
Every student is assessed at the beginning of second grade using a grade-level equivalent reading passage.

Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA):
The WELPA annually assesses growth in English language development by the state’s English language learners (ELL). This assessment tests reading, writing, listening and speaking knowledge and skills.

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