DLA uses the data cycle to provide data-driven instruction (described in detail in Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo). We believe that student learning is the ultimate measure of teaching, and that as a result, teaching improves to produce better learning. We use assessments to answer the question, “Are our students learning?”
The data cycle includes:
- Assessment - Using rigorous assessments that provide meaningful student data
- Analysis - Examining the results of assessments to determine strengths and weaknesses
- Action - Teach and reteach what students most need to learn
- Culture - Establishing a school and classroom environment where data-driven instruction is valued and implemented
Formative assessments are used to gauge a student’s mastery or progress towards mastery of a given topic or skill in order to adjust instruction to meet students’ needs. Students may be given the opportunity to retake a formative assessment in order to demonstrate improvement or determine if further intervention is needed. Performance on formative assessments will be factored in a student’s progress report/report card grade.
Exit Tickets: (K-2 Reading and Math; 3-8 All Subjects)
Teachers use daily exit tickets at the end of a lesson to check for understanding and to inform their instruction. Exit tickets can come from the curriculum or be teacher-created and typically range from 3-5 questions.
Weekly/Bi-Weekly Assessments: (K-2 Reading and Math; 3-8 All Subjects)
Teachers use tests at the end of the week/ every other week to check for understanding, to determine what students learned and recall, and to inform their instruction.
i-Ready Diagnostic: (K-8 Reading and Math)
These computerized tests are given three times a year – at the very beginning of the year, in the middle of the year, and again at the end of the year. These tests are adaptive, meaning that students answer questions that are exactly on their level. We use the results to know how our students are performing in comparison to students all over the country and to pinpoint specific skills and concepts with which students may need extra help. We also use the results to measure our progress as a school.
Summative assessments are used to assess students’ overall progress toward grade level material and will be factored in their progress report/report card grade.
Unit Assessments: (Grades K-2: Reading, Math; Grades 3-8: all subjects)
All of our students will take standards-based unit assessments at the end of each unit of study.
3rd-8th grade Math and ELA unit assessments are created by DLA and made available in the Edulastic platform.
Quarterly Exams: (Grades 3-8: all subjects) All our 3rd-8th grade students will complete quarterly exams in math and reading, science in 5th and 7th-8th and social studies in 7th-8th. These assessments will be a compilation of all the material covered in that quarter or up until the last unit assessment. Quarterly assessments are created by DLA academic team and made available in the Edulastic platform.
Fontas & Pinnell Benchmark Reading Assessment (F&P):
(Grades K-8) All students will be administered the F&P reading assessment two-three times a year. The F&P assessment measures reading foundations, fluency, comprehension, and independence. Student reading levels are determined by the assessment.
Ohio State Tests: (Grades 3-8 in Reading and Math, Grades 4&6 in Social Studies, Grades 5&8 in Science) This end of year test is given to all public school students across the state of Ohio. It is a timed, multiple choice and short answer assessment. It is used to measure students' skills and progress toward mastery of grade level standards. We use the results to plan academic supports and programs for students the following year and to measure our success as a school.
In addition to formative and summative assessments, we use culminating projects as authentic assessments of student learning. Project-based learning is a research-based teaching method that allows students to be the leaders of their own learning and to solve real-world problems. Students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge. The DLA expectation is for students to complete at least two project-based culminating projects in any subject area over the course of the year. The project should be based on a realistic problem, provide structured group work time, and include multiple assessment points.