Sharing Assessment Data with Students & Stakeholders

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  • 0:04 Educational Decisions & Tests
  • 0:29 Limits of Assessments
  • 1:35 Communicating Test Scores
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will discuss some of the misunderstandings stakeholders have about testing and score reports to identify ways that teachers can prepare to communicate outcomes of student assessments with students, parents, and colleagues.

Educational Decisions and Tests

We live in an age of accountability where students, parents, and teachers have become accustomed to using high-stakes tests as a primary tool for making educational decisions. This dependence on testing instruments makes it extremely important that teachers understand various types of tests and their limits so that they can explain this information to parents and students. Let's find out more about communicating assessment results.

Limits of Assessments

But, why is it important to know the purpose and limits of an assessment when interpreting results, anyway? Schools use various test instruments for program placement, instructional decision-making, or accountability. For example, the CogAT, or Cognitive Abilities Test, is an abilities test that's used to measure a student's ability to apply reason to verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal problems. It doesn't take into consideration a student's content knowledge. Many schools use this assessment to indicate placement in gifted education programs. But you're probably wondering, if Suzy makes an average score on the CogAT, does that mean she won't get into medical school? Absolutely not! The CogAT doesn't measure Suzy's academic achievement or work ethic, which are the main factors for college admissions. Achievement tests measure the student's mastery of content, unlike CogAT.

Further, one assessment should not be used in isolation to limit a student's options. Conclusions that affect a student's educational decisions should be based on multiple measures, or more than one assessment type, to provide a comprehensive view of the child's abilities.

Communicating Test Scores

When communicating information about test scores to students and parents, the teacher should avoid using education jargon in order to clearly explain the purpose of the test, the meaning of student scores, and proposed next steps towards applying those scores to the educational context for which the test was intended.

For example, Suzy's parents should be told that Suzy scored in the average range for the CogAT, which means she doesn't qualify for gifted education services based on this test, but she may still take advanced classes because the test doesn't reflect Suzy's achievement or the effort she puts into being a successful student.

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