Assessment technology was undoubtedly a core part of the ‘remote learning survival kit’, and as teaching and learning has evolved over the past two years, technology continues to play a critical role in meeting individual learning needs.
True equity is achieved when students can learn at their own pace and educators have the tools and instructional methods to support personalized learning. To achieve this, educators must have access to tools that allow students to demonstrate what they know in multiple ways.
In our K-12 assessment survey, we asked respondents which assessment technology features are considered most essential to them. The top three were:
- Tracking student mastery
- Real-time data delivery
- Aligning content to learning standards
An effective AMS (assessment management system) allows educators to conduct ongoing, frequent check-ins with students to gain insight into what they know and adjust instruction to meet their individual needs. Assessing students for continued learning requires specific capabilities to ensure a) teachers are receiving data efficiently and b) students have the flexibility they need to demonstrate learning in multiple formats.
To guide you on your quest for the right assessment management tool, we’ve identified five AMS non-negotiables that will support your school in building a strong assessment strategy.
1: INSTANT & ACTIONABLE DATA
Sorting through data from a variety of tools often lengthens the feedback loop, making it difficult for teachers to use the data they collect to guide their instruction. An assessment platform should allow teachers to view student data in an intuitive, visual way. This facilitates in-the-moment decisions that will drive learning forward and help teachers:
- Target students for interventions on one or more standards.
- Identify which standards should be revisited for the entire class.
- Determine the standards that have been mastered by all students.
2: POWERHOUSE COLLABORATION TOOLS
As the achievement gap continues to widen, it's essential to ensure all teachers have access to the standards-aligned resources they need to help students get where they need to be. Your AMS should have teacher-centric tools that offer:
- Integrated reporting features to compare standards-based data.
- Easy-to-use methods for sharing and discovering standards-aligned resources and assessments.
- Integrated authoring tools for creating both simple and technology-enhanced items for formative assessments.
3: FLEXIBLE ASSESSMENT OPTIONS
One size does not fit all when it comes to assessing students. As school and district leaders seek to provide equitable access across all learning channels, tech tools must be flexible and provide multiple modalities for students to demonstrate what they know. Make sure your AMS supports the following assessment formats:
- Online: An intuitive experience for students to complete their formative or interim assessments using any desktop, laptop, or mobile device through a variety of methods.
- Scanning / Paper and Pencil: An easy process to print plain-paper bubble sheets that are quickly scored with instant-grading technology using a webcam/document camera or mobile device.
- Performance-Based: The ability to score a variety of performance-based and rubric-based assessments with an intuitive integrated grader.
- Evidence-Based: Laptop, tablet, and mobile tools to quickly add assessment data by using a rubric, scanning paper bubble sheets, capturing performance-based evidence of learning, or entering mastery scores from any device.
In addition to supporting these core assessment formats, schools and districts should also consider providing teachers with pre-built, standards-aligned assessments that can be used to gauge student mastery throughout the year.
4: BENCHMARK & CURRICULUM-MAPPING TOOLS
When teachers and administrators can make valuable data connections between formative and benchmark assessments, they'll be better equipped to make timely adjustments to instruction that address their school's or district's current challenges. To keep all stakeholders on the same page, your AMS should include the following functionalities:
- A curriculum mapping tool to help teachers deliver vetted content at an appropriate scope and sequence across the district.
- Benchmarking capabilities to help you keep a pulse on student performance throughout the year.
5: SCALABLE, INTEROPERABLE, & SECURE
More than anything, you need an AMS you can count on. An AMS should be able to grow with you, and it shouldn’t interfere with other tools that your teachers are required to use on a daily basis. As you evaluate AMS vendors, be sure to ask these three questions:
- Does the AMS vendor guarantee an uptime of 99.9%, and have they maintained that uptime over the past three years?
- Are there surcharges for connecting to an SIS or LMS by another vendor?
- Does the vendor strictly adhere to both FERPA and COPPA regulations?
Download the Report
To learn more about key assessment trends that are top of mind for educators nationwide, as well as perspectives and considerations for the future, check out The State of Assessment in K-12.