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As educators focus on accelerating learning, assessing student knowledge is the first step

The Newsela Team
Jun 7, 2021

In order for educators to accelerate student learning in the upcoming school year, they must understand where students' knowledge is after a tumultuous year of learning. In a recent Edweek survey, 88% of district leaders and principals said assessing progress toward grade-level standards was important to them.

However, while assessing student knowledge is critical to accelerating learning, it does not mean it always has to be done with high-stakes assessments. There are a variety of types of assessments available that, when used together, can paint a full picture of student performance.  Educators should leverage interim assessments, like NWEA’s MAP Growth, to guide and track learning multiple times each school year. But just because some students may be falling behind on grade-level standards, more high stakes assessment isn’t the answer to getting them on track. Low-stakes formative assessments can create meaningful checkpoints for students to demonstrate their knowledge in the context of an engaging lesson and can provide teachers with ongoing insight into what students know, without pulling students out of class for another test. 

Newsela’s embedded formative assessments provide teachers with a variety of ways to monitor student understanding and guide learning in real-time. Reading comprehension quizzes, customizable Write Prompts, annotations, and more, allow teachers to scaffold content to accelerate learning, and check for understanding, while staying connected with their students.

With Newsela’s formative assessments, like our reading comprehension quizzes aligned to ELA standards, teachers can assess student knowledge in real-time and see what standards and skills they may need more support with. 

Too much focus on high-stakes assessments can lead to a poor learning experience when now, more than ever, students need to be engaged in their lessons. With accessible, rich instructional resources that encourage inquiry and classroom connections that include all students in the same discussion, students can be excited about reentering the classroom and get in the right mindset to start learning.

Watch our recent webinar on how to leverage formative assessments to drive student learning and hear from three former teachers as they discuss how to both plan for using formative assessments and in real-time to create a more meaningful student experience. 

Register for our Learning Found webinar series to learn more how Newsela can support your district.

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