Local Assessment System:
The primary purpose of the Comprehensive Local Assessment System is to improve student learning in relation to standards. Other purposes are to provide data for instructional improvement, to provide data for school and district improvement, and to respond to accountability needs. The Comprehensive Local Assessment System includes individual assessments, classroom assessments, school/district assessments and state assessments. These are used in varying combinations to make different sorts of decisions: decisions about individual students, classroom decisions, school/district decisions and state level decisions. For example, state assessments, school/district assessments and classroom assessments could be used together to make decisions about individual student performance in relation to standards (e.g., a student is or isn't meeting certain mathematics standards), to make decisions about modifying classroom instruction for all students (e.g., more instructional focus is needed on mathematics problem solving skills) and to make decisions about the focus of school improvement (e.g., professional development is needed in the area of mathematics content knowledge).
Some people have asked, "Do all students need to be assessed on all standards as part of the local comprehensive assessment system?" The answer is YES for the standards that have been adopted locally (a comprehensive set of standards, Vermont's or a comparable set, as per the requirements of the School Quality Standards). Through a combination of individual, classroom, school/district and state assessments, all students do need to be assessed on all those standards. The use of assessment results at each of these levels needs to be guided by specific considerations, as described in Leadership Advisory #1, below, and in the matrix therein titled Using Assessments for Decision Making: Considerations at Four Levels.
Some decisions are high stakes, and others are less so. The higher the stakes for students, schools, and districts, the more rigorous the technical quality requirements will need to be. There are specific technical considerations that govern individual student, classroom, school/district and state level selection and development of assessments. For more information on technical considerations, see the matrix (in Leadership Advisory #1, below) titled Technical Considerations for Selecting and Developing Assessments at Four Levels.
Tools and Resources for Local Comprehensive Assessment Systems