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Elementary School Tries Out Performance-Based Assessment; More to Come Under ESSA

Elementary School Tries Out Performance-Based Assessment; More to Come Under ESSA

Since the build-up of backlash against over-emphasis on standardized testing, many schools have started to look at alternative ways to measure student progress year after year.

According to DNA Info, the Brooklyn New School is one of the first elementary schools in the country to test out using performance-based assessments to measure the progress of its young learners.

"BNS is piloting performance-based assessments, where students give presentations that are evaluated by a panel of adults, made up of BNS teachers, staff and parents (who do not evaluate their own kids),” DNA Info said.

While it has its challenges, the idea behind using performance-based assessments is that each child is graded on a personalized level as opposed to against the group.

"For instance, a third grader who doesn’t speak well gave a presentation that made the school proud of his growth. That student, however, would not have done well if his presentation was compared to others,” the school’s principal Anna Allanbrook told DNA Info.

For now, the school is not yet seeking waivers to replace state standardized tests until after more trial and error in developing its assessment.

Not that it really matters. DNA Info says 95 percent of the schools’ families opted out from tests this past year.

The school’s administration told DNA Info it’s potentially worried about facing ramifications from the state for not testing enough students to meet “Adequate Yearly Progress” guidelines (the hated part of No Child Left Behind that requires states to test 95 percent of all students or face harsh repercussions).

Fortunately, under the Every Student Succeeds Act that will go into effect in August, AYP will be a thing of the past and instead states will be allowed freedom in developing the kinds of assessments that Brooklyn New School is testing out.

Things are looking up.

Read more.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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