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District Assessment Philosophy

Assessments are both an instrument of accountability and a tool to ensure student mastery of content standards. Schools must be focused on ensuring a high level of learning for all students. The most important assessments, then, are those that produce data to inform and individualize instruction. These assessments, for learning, are mostly the work of collaborative teams of teachers focused on student outcomes. In Hamblen County Schools, we define assessments as:


Formative Assessments monitor student learning in order to provide meaningful feedback that can be used by teachers to inform next steps and by students to improve performance. Formative assessments are generally low stakes, meaning they have little or no grading value.

Benchmark Assessments are a type of formative assessment. Benchmark assessments are given at regular intervals throughout the academic year and are designed to give teachers immediate feedback on how students are progressing toward mastery of academic standards. Benchmark assessments typically measure student progress against the long-term instructional goals rather than a specific skill.

Summative Assessments evaluate student learning at the end of instruction and are typically assigned a grade value that reflects mastery toward one or more standards.