Parents, educators want more from assessment

“There’s a pretty fair take rate already reported by teachers, in terms of the use of newer kinds of assessment and technology-based assessments,” he said.

Thirty percent of teachers said they use assessments that are part of digital content, such as eBooks or web resources, 42 percent said they use adaptive (technology-based) assessments, 43 percent use game-based assessments, and 16 percent use electronic portfolios.

A parallel finding is seen in a question that asks parents what kind of assessments they’re aware of in their child’s classroom and asks teachers what type of assessments they currently use. While only 21 percent of parents reported that they are aware of game-based assessments being used in their child’s classroom, 43 percent of teachers said they currently use game-based assessments.

Electronic portfolios have gained momentum in recent years, with many educators in both K-12 and higher education exploring ways to use them to their fullest potential.

While 16 percent is not a majority, Grunwald observed that it is a significant proportion and said his general speculation, not based on the report directly, is that electronic portfolio use will increase fairly quickly in the coming years.

Formative vs. summative assessment

Eighty-four percent of parents said formative assessment is extremely or very useful; 67 percent said interim assessments are extremely or very useful; and 44 percent responded the same for summative assessments.

The report reveals that educators value daily and weekly feedback. Sixty-three percent of teachers and 81 percent of district administrators said that, ideally, they’d like to track progress and provide feedback on a daily or weekly basis. Thirty-two percent of teachers and 12 percent of administrators said tracking progress every grading period was ideal, 3 percent of teachers and 1 percent of district administrators said end-of-year tracking is ideal, and 1 percent of teachers and 7 percent of district administrators said they would like to use tracking to predict future performance.

District administrators want more assessments, too. Forty-seven percent say they would like more interim assessments that measure growth; 38 percent said they’d like more longitudinal data from interim assessments; 33 percent said they’d value seeing more student work, including portfolios and classroom observations; 31 percent would like more diagnostic instruments; and 7 percent want more high-stakes assessments used for accountability.

Alternative assessments are on the rise, with 4 in 10 teachers using game-based assessments and adaptive, technology-based assessments.

The survey reveals the following breakdown of parents, teachers, and district administrators who say it is extremely or very important to measure student performance in higher-order thinking skills:

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