• Assessment Information

    Delaware students are capable of performing well on challenging assessments aligned to the rigor of the standards and they deserve meaningful assessment opportunities that prepare them for college and careers. Assessments can also support educators in providing excellent teaching and learning experiences by giving them insight into our students’ understanding. In order for assessments to fulfill their promise, they must be purposeful, high-quality, and part of a coherent plan.

    Teachers need instructional assessments that spotlight grade-level performance expectations and practices.  These assessments help educators adapt instruction to meet students’ needs by identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses in an area of learning, giving students rapid feedback, and engaging students in complex learning tasks.  In core English/Language Arts instruction, these formative and benchmark assessments are embedded into the district/charter’s high-quality curriculum.  These are the primary assessments that drive the way teachers spend their time in the classroom.

    In addition to the assessments from the core, high-quality curriculum, Delaware schools must also use other instructional assessments as part of their MTSS programming for reading and writing.  Instructional assessments that screen to identify students who may be at risk for literacy challenges, diagnose these challenges, and monitor the progress of the applied evidence-based interventions are required as part of a Comprehensive Assessment System.  For more information on a comprehensive assessment system for literacy, please see pgs.21 and 22 of The Delaware Literacy Coalition’s Strategic Plan and Digital Delaware’s Early Literacy screening page for students in grades 3 and below.

  • The state of Delaware facilitates the administration of evaluative assessments that provide information to inform the actions of school or district leaders, and/or policymakers.  These summative tests tend to measure student learning across a wide swath of standards and to monitor and track student performance as a group. The Smarter Balance for ELA is administered in the spring of every school year for students in grades 3-8 and the SAT in the spring for students in grade 11.  Students in grade levels who do not take the state summative test are administered content assessments (Measure B) as part of the state’s teacher evaluation system.

    Many Delaware districts and charters also use predictive assessments at various intervals throughout the school year to indicate whether a student is likely to meet a certain bar on end-of-year tests.  Often referred to as interim or benchmark assessments, many predictive assessments can be aggregated in various ways and used as a screener to identify which students are on track to meet end-of-year expectations. (Research has demonstrated that the universal screeners used as part of the MTSS system can provide much of this predictive information.)  The Delaware Department of Education provides all districts and charters with access to interim comprehensive and block assessments that directly align to the end-of-year Smarter Balance assessment for students in grades 3-8.

    While it is important not to try and make assessments serve purposes beyond those for which they were designed in any content area, it is of particular importance when addressing the area of reading comprehension.  Because of the central role of text in standards-aligned instruction, any evaluative or predictive assessment that provides reports that do not link directly to the texts and topics addressed in the curriculum should not be used to inform daily instruction. While counterintuitive, it’s important to be specifically mindful of standards-based assessment reporting for ELA since it is not reflective of how the state test is designed or how students develop as readers.  Student Achievement Partner’s ELA Assessment Quick reference guide shares both effective and ineffective responses to poor performance on evaluative and predictive assessments.

    Educators wanting to learn more about how they can support teachers, save time, and serve students with assessment in ELA are encouraged to explore the following additional resources:

Last Modified on May 17, 2024