Formative assessments:

  • Thirty-two percent of parents said formative assessments negatively affect their children through stress, and 35 percent said these assessments cause stress that negatively impacts their child’s motivation to learn.
  • Thirty-seven percent of teachers said they are negatively affected by formative assessment stress.
  • Twenty percent of district administrators said formative assessment stress has a negative impact on them.

Summative assessments:

  • Forty percent of parents said summative assessments negatively affect their children through stress, and 41 percent said these assessments cause stress that negatively impacts their child’s motivation to learn.
  • Sixty-three percent of teachers said they are negatively affected by summative assessment stress.
  • Fifty-two percent of district administrators said summative assessment stress has a negative impact on them.

Recommendations for assessment stakeholders

NWEA developed recommendations for assessment makers and policy makers, as well as for state and district leaders.

According to the organization, assessment makers and policy makers should:

  • Broaden the dialogue beyond summative assessments and high-stakes accountability.
  • Avoid tunnel vision and focus on more than English language arts and mathematics. Broaden the curriculum assessed and take the full measure of student learning.
  • Develop innovative ways to measure the application of thinking, learning and life skills.
  • Encourage local decision making on assessments that support learning.

State and district leaders should:

  • Share decision-making authority and responsibility for teaching and learning with teachers, principals, and school leaders.
  • Select assessments that provide useful and timely information.
  • Establish professional learning communities and provide training and time for educators to understand different assessments and make effective use of assessment data.
  • Dare to compare student data locally and nationally.

The survey included 1,024 K-12 classroom teachers, 1,009 parents of K-12 students, and 200 district administrators.

For more information about smart assessment practices, see:

Doing More with Less: How Informed Assessment Practices Can Help