The district's comprehensive assessment system is comprised of a variety of assessments with a range of purpose. Students enter the classroom with diverse backgrounds and skills; assessments help teachers understand students' academic needs. Assessment results are used to help teachers with instruction by identifying skills that are mastered and skills needing review. Assessments are also used to determine the effectiveness of instruction so teachers know how to make adjustments to better assist learning.
Universal Screening is a critical first step in identifying students who may be at risk for experiencing reading, math or behavior related difficulties and might need additional supports. Screeners are a first look at who might need further diagnostics. The universal screeners the district uses are FastBridge (academic foundational reading and math skills), and in some schools, the SAEBRS behavior screener (social, academic, and emotional).
Diagnostics follow screening for only the students needing specific skill support identification. Diagnostic tests are only given when there is a clear expectation that the assessment will provide new or more indepth information. The diagnostics used to identify literacy skills are the Quick Phonics Screener (QPS) and the Phonological Awareness Skills Test (PAST).
State Assessments in reading and math are given online each spring in grades 3 through 8 and 10. Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 also take science assessments each year. Every other year, students in grades 6, 8 and 11 participate in history/government state assessments. The state assessments are taken over a period of 3-4 weeks. See the assessment schedule or assessment calendar for specific date ranges.
Beginning with the 2015 state assessments, the data from previous state assessments is no longer comparable. Moving forward, student performance will be measured according to four performance levels. Click the link here to view or download the grade level performance level descriptors. State assessment performance may be viewed at Kansas Report Card.
The Kansas State Department of Education expects all students to participate in state assessments; however it is also recognized that parents have the right to opt their student(s) out of state assessments. We will respect your wishes in that regard. If you feel this is the best decision for your child, please visit with your child's school principal and provide documentation of your wishes.
With regard to our screening and district assessments, we do not allow parents to opt out of these assessments. These assesments provide data to help your child's teacher(s) target areas in which your child may need to improve or areas in which their performance is below what is expected of a student at their grade level. This data is critical so that teachers can make sure your child is making the progress expected at their grade level.
College and Career exploration and preparation is an ongoing process that develops as students progress through their academic career. The district uses a variety of exercises in grades 4-6 and tools and assessments from Career Cruising-Xello that work together to help students make educational and career planning decisions in grades 7 thru 12. Most Career Cruising-Xello activities and assessments begin in October.
Eleventh and twelfth grade students typically register for the ACT college entrance exam that includes four parts: English, mathematics, reading, science, and an interest inventory. Students register for and take the exam at designated times from February to June.
The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is a predictive assessment of a student's strengths and weaknesses when considering post-secondary options. The PSAT is a National Merit Scholarship qualifying test that is administered to registered 10th and 11th grade students in mid-October.
For more information on preparing for post-secondary options, visit College Board.
To see post-secondary techincal education partnership opportunities offered in Kansas visit the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE).