AssessMent for Learning

Measuring students’ progress toward achieving mastery of specific skills and standards is an essential aspect of our work as educators. In thinking about assessment, we must move past thinking about testing events, and more about what assessment is and why we do it...

  • Assessment FOR Learning: using information about students' knowledge, understanding, and skills to inform our teaching practice and providing feedback to students about how to improve.
  • Assessment AS Learning: involving students in the learning process to monitor their own progress and work toward their learning goals through self-assessment and reflection.
  • Assessment OF Learning: using evidence of student learning as a way to measure the impact of our teaching practices

Looking at Regents Exam Data

When we examine student performance on social studies Regents exams on questions and/or standards, we must keep both the content and the skill in mind. We look at summative data like Regents exam responses to identify patterns and trends that can have actionable impacts on our instructional planning and implementation. Use the resources below to support you in your analyses:

Looking at Student Work

In addition to examining large-scale data, looking at individual pieces of student work is also an important piece of our reflective practice. Looking at Student Work (LASW) helps us identify specific strengths and weaknesses in how our students are performing which better enables us to plan support and scaffolds for our students to succeed.

Common Assessments

Providing meaningful feedback to students about their progress and changing our instructional practices to meet student need are critical pieces of our practice as educators. Common assessments, and the resulting data, are intended to support us in this practice by providing meaningful information about student growth and skill development.

Common Assessments are part of healthy balanced assessment system where student progress is monitored in multiple ways. All of our students must take part in summative assessments like the NYS Regents exams and teachers routinely administer classroom level formative assessments to check for understanding on a daily basis. Our district-wide common assessments are interim assessments intended to be administered at the end of curricular units that can identify students’ strengths and challenges in relation to specific standards, skills, and/or areas of the curriculum. Using all three of these types of assessment in a balanced way throughout the school year allows us to get a more accurate picture of where students are so we are better able to make plans to help them be successful.

Administering Common Assessments

Using common assessments provides several advantages to us:

    • Resulting item analyses show specific areas of strength and challenge for individual students and whole classes.
    • Common assessments could be used to replace classroom-level tests/quizzes if chosen by the teacher – these don’t have to be additional tests.
    • The assessments are aligned to the NYS format and rigor – they prepare students for success on the Regents.
    • Common assessments allow classroom teachers to compare the performance of students in their classes to students in other classrooms or district schools. This can fuel collaboration within and across buildings.


Common assessments can be loaded into eDoctrina so you can print out answer sheets for your class and scan the bubble sheets directly back into the system through your school’s copy machine. A video tutorial showing you how to access and print answer sheets for your classes can be found HERE. Common assessments…

    • Include both multiple choice and open-ended written responses.
    • Align directly with NYS requirements and the New Visions curriculum pacing.
    • Should be administered at the conclusion of a curricular unit of study. General pacing is provided, but teachers have discretion about when to administer based on when they finish each unit.
    • Can be used as a part of student’s grades, but can also be ungraded if the teacher wishes.

Interpreting Common Assessment Data

These assessments are dubbed “common” because students across the district take the same exam, but they are also common because educators can use a common approach to interpreting and taking action on the data resulting from assessment administration. The results of these common assessments should be used as a tool for teachers to use in making instructional decisions about what content, concepts, and skills should be a continued focus for individual and groups of students as they progress through the curriculum. All aspects of our system can use common assessment data to make positive instructional decisions:


Item analyses of student results will be available through eDoctrina after you scan student answer sheets into the system. Refer to the attached tools for suggested procedures and protocols to use in interpreting and taking action from results. As you analyze and interpret common assessment data, think about the following questions…

    • What student learning strengths and challenges were uncovered by your interpretation of common assessment results?
    • What instructional responses have you and your team decided to take as a result of these analyses?
    • What support do you and your team need to accomplish these actions?
*Please note: You must be logged into your browser with your RCSD Google account (the one that ends in "@rcsd121.org") to access RCSD data. If the links above are not working, please make sure you are logged in appropriately.