To support mastery-based education, students take assessments when they are confident they have mastered content and skills. Schools are held accountable by the results of a variety of measures that illustrate how they are supporting and improving student learning.
Why is this important?
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Mastery-based education focuses on supporting students as they develop knowledge and skills. Assessments that measure learning and document mastery should therefore be given when students are ready. Given the variety of content and skills, a variety of measures are needed to assess mastery. While statewide assessments are important for holding schools accountable to the Connecticut Core of Learning, additional assessments are also needed to document the full range of student learning.16
Accountability systems must allow for demonstration of student proficiencies through a broad array of assessment methods beyond conventional test-based systems tied to a system of test-based sanctions. Accountability systems must be re-focused to include the degree to which the school provides authentic opportunities to learn through a wide variety of learning experiences.
16 Darling Hammond, L. (2010). Performance Counts: Assessment Systems that Support High-Quality Learning. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers; Graue, E. and Johnson, E. (2011). ‘Reclaiming Assessment Through Accountability That Is “Just Right,” Teachers College Record, Volume 113, Number 8, August 2011, pp. 1827–1862.