How are we doing?
Teachers and leaders know whether they are being effective by looking directly at student results. Students, too, should always know how they are doing. It is their education, after all.
Consistent and Persistent Assessment
Assessment is a vital tool for observing individual student progress, understanding teacher development, and evaluating the success of our overall academic program.
No single source can give us all the insights we need. We use a variety of assessments to always keep our finger on the pulse of student learning – a combination of daily, weekly, monthly, biannual, and annual tools:
- All standardized tests required for traditional public schools that are mandated in the California Education Code (including SAT-9; PSAT, SAT, High School Exit Exam)
- Other nationally recognized norm-referenced and/or developmentally based tests (e.g. Durrell Oral Reading; CAS Problem Solving; Berkeley Readiness Test, Advanced Placement tests)
- Any local district assessments required of other public schools in the chartering district
- Specialized assessments developed by Aspire for all areas of the academic core (e.g. project rubrics)
- Day-to-day assessments related to specific content or skills (running record for language arts; math computation quizzes, unit tests)
- Qualitative observations of the process of learning (teachers' anecdotal notes, a child's reflection log, internship mentor reports)
- Exhibitions and examination of final products (a final version of a paper, an interdisciplinary final project, Rites of Passage (ROPES) project) based on criteria and standards clearly communicated at the beginning of the project involving a student presentation of information learned.
Schoolzilla Assessment Tool
Schoolzilla, an online toolset that empowers teachers, principals and administrators to use data to drive student achievement, was originally developed by Aspire in 2009. Extensive input was gathered from teachers and school leaders to enable Aspire educators to make data-informed decisions in the classroom on a daily basis. In 2011, Schoolzilla’s “Assessment Explorer” – a program specifically designed to analyze state assessment data – was made available to other public schools after three years of internal Aspire use.
Schoolzilla provides teachers with crucial student information – including academic strengths, weaknesses and attendance records – and shows where their students are and where they need improvement in order to chart the best instructional course forward. Principals and administrators also use Schoolzilla to see a holistic picture of performance across their school or school system and to make informed decisions, such as improving teacher training or filling curriculum gaps.