The purpose of the District Assessment Plan is to provide a process to verify student understanding and attainment of the Pennsylvania Academic Standards and assessment anchors and the district curriculum. The district shall utilize multiple assessment techniques to measure student progress toward the standards. The three types of assessments included in this plan are classroom-based assessments, district-based assessments and external assessments.

Classroom-based Assessments

Classroom-based assessments (CBA) are integrated into the curriculum and provide teachers with ongoing information regarding the level of a student’s progress and the extent of their understanding. Classroom-based assessments include a variety of measures such as tests, performance tasks, products, written work, and observation checklists. CBA data is summarized every nine weeks, reviewed with students, and sent to parents.

District-based Assessments

District-based assessments (DBA) are evaluative measures that have been created and/or adopted at the district level. These assessments are common across the grade level and provide valuable information for both individual students and groups of students on their performance of the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. District-based assessments include a variety of measures such as final exams, DIBELS, writing samples, and performance tasks.

Teachers receive training regarding the assessments and use them consistently across the district.

External Assessments

The Lower Dauphin School District utilizes standardized tests as external assessments. These standardized tests include both the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test (PSSAs) and the newly developed and state-mandated Keystone Exams.

The PSSA is a required assessment tool in grades 3-8 for all of the Reading and Mathematics Standards, and in grades five and eight for the Writing Standards.

Students in grades four and eight also take a PSSA Science Test to measure their knowledge of the state Science Standards. Information gleaned from the state assessments is analyzed and used with other district measures and data to determine student academic growth as well as school and district performance

The PSSA Reading and Math tests will be given April 8-19; the PSSA Writing test will be given March 11-15; and the PSSA Science test will be given April 22-26.

Educational tours and trips will not be approved during the testing window dates.

The Keystone Exam will assess students’ ability to meet state Standards in Algebra, Literature and Biology. Students must complete a Keystone Exam in each of these subjects by the end of their junior year. Testing dates for the Keystone Exam will be December 10-14 and/or January 9-16. There will also be a spring administration of the Keystone Exam May 13-24. All juniors will take the exams in the winter with re-tests taking place in May. Students in 10th grade enrolled in algebra, biology and literature will take the exam in May. Ninth-graders may take the algebra exam in the winter or in May depending upon when they took algebra. Some middle school students who were or are enrolled in algebra in grades 7 and 8 will take the algebra exam during the 2012-13 school year.