The benefits of ongoing progress monitoring of students on essential academic
skills (i.e., “power standards”) are well established. But, as Sherman Dorn
notes
, some school districts are starting to see a backlash from students and
parents against too much testing, even when it’s formative assessment designed
to increase student mastery of critical content.

Here is the comment I
left on Sherman’s blog post:

I think one of the problems is that many school systems just throw a bunch of
formative assessments up on the wall, hoping some of them will stick regarding
their curriculum standards and/or year-end assessments. For example, I just
spoke with a principal whose elementary school was doing SIX different reading
assessments with its kids. When pressed to explain WHY each assessment was used
(i.e., what information each assessment gave teachers that the other ones
didn’t), he was unable to articulate how the assessments were similar /
different from each other. If schools wish to avoid student and parent backlash
against too much testing, they need to have an aligned assessment strategy that
clearly outlines when and why each assessment is being used. If schools can’t do
this, they deserve all the backlash they get.

Does your school organization have an aligned assessment system? Can it
clearly articulate when, why, and for which students each formative assessment
is being used as well as how that assessment overlaps (or doesn’t) with other
assessments?