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COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL ASSESSMENT SYSTEM

The Comprehensive Local Assessment System:
How All Students Are Assessed on All Standards

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

  • Vermont Version 2003 CAS Handbook for Professional Development in Assessment Literacy

    Introduction by H. 'Bud' Meyers, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner, Vermont Department of Education

    State of VermontWe are very pleased to provide you with the Vermont Version 2003 of the CAS Handbook for Professional Development in Assessment Literacy (PDF). The work that is represented in this publication was the result of the collaboration between the Vermont Institutes, the Vermont Department of Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers. I think that you will find this work extremely helpful to you as you design and implement local assessments.

    CAS for Title 1--Handbook for PD in Assessment LiteracyAs you may know, Vermont's School Quality Standards require that all schools assess all students on the Vermont Standards beginning with the 2005 school year. The processes and procedures described in this handbook will help to accomplish this goal. The Vermont Version 2003 of the CAS Handbook for Professional Development in Assessment Literacy is not intended to be a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to assessment. Rather, it will lead you to a variety of resources, both people and print, that will enable you to measure the standards and report student results to parents and community for all Vermont Standards. The more elegant and accurate our assessment systems become, the stronger and deeper our learning opportunities for all subject areas and the vital results will be. Authentic and powerful assessment is a very lofty vision and goal, but our students deserve no less.

  • Leadership Advisory
This Leadership Advisory is being distributed to support local schools in districts as they design/refine, implement, and use local comprehensive assessment systems. The advisory provides technical information, examples and other material useful at the local level. This first Leadership Advisory has been created with feedback and critique from staff at the Vermont Department of Education and the Vermont Institute for Science, Math and Technology, as well as from selected superintendents, curriculum directors, teachers and others. We very much appreciate the help they have provided.
  • Glossary (PDF)--a short glossary of terms

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