Table of Contents

Multiple Levels of Assessment

In his article “What Assessment Can and Cannot Do,” Dylan Wiliam points out, “Assessment is the bridge between teaching and learning—it is only through assessment that we can find out whether what has happened in the classroom has produced the learning we intended” (2011).

This unit focuses on the multiple levels of assessment that can be used to monitor student learning at different points in the instructional process, as indicated in Phase 1 — “Prepare” of the Teaching Assessment Cycle:

Teaching-Assessment Cycle: Phase 1

Multiple levels of assessments are a key characteristic of high-quality, balanced assessment systems. In Unit 2, it was noted that no single assessment can meet all the needs of the variety of users of assessment information. Multiple levels and types of assessments are needed to address the range of decision-making and the purposes or needs of key stakeholders in the system.

A high-quality, balanced assessment system has a range of standards-based, aligned assessments, each having a specific purpose related to student learning over time. As you read the following quote from the SBAC Executive Summary (2011), look for key characteristics of a balanced assessment system:

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium's vision for a new generation assessment system–one that includes a set of balanced components that can be adapted to meet students' needs across participating states–calls for strategic use of a variety of item types and performance events to measure the full range of the CCSS and to ensure accurate assessment of all students, including students with disabilities, English learners, and low and high-performing students."

Read the 2011 Executive Summary: