Data and Accountability

  • Cherry Chase believes that in order to meet student needs, it is important to frequently assess each student's progress through a broad range of assessment strategies. Assessment takes place in a variety of forms but can be categorized into two main groups: formative assessments and summative assessments. In addition, the Sunnyvale School District Data and Accountability program utilizes common benchmark assessments throughout the year in order to gauge student progress toward meeting standards and identify the effectiveness of the instructional programs offered. 

    Formative Assessments

    Formative assessments are shorter assessments that focus on one or two educational standards.  Because they are short, they can be given frequently to determine a student's progress toward meeting a goal.  This allows the teacher to adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of each student.  Formative assessments may take the form of observational data, classroom discussions, exit/admittance slips, response logs, graphic organizers, presentations, whiteboard responses, hand signals, quizzes, electronic assessments, or short tests.  After formative assessments, students receive further instruction based on their assessment results and are provided additional opportunities to demonstrate their level of proficiency.

    Summative Assessments

    Summative assessments are comprehensive and generally assess a wider range of standards.  Because they are longer, these assessments are given less frequently.  Not only do they provide a snapshot of each student's overall understanding of the instructional unit, but they also provide valuable feedback to teachers on the quality of the program provided, allowing teachers to make adjustments to their own teaching and curriculum.  These assessments generally occur at the end of a unit, trimester, or school year.  Summative assessments are generally used as the final assessment to determine a student's mastery of the assessed standards; therefore, students generally do not retake these assessments. Examples of summative assessments include unit tests, performance tasks, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  

    Benchmark Assessments

    Benchmark Assessments are given to all Sunnyvale School District students in order to examine the effectiveness of our instructional program and provide insights into students' mastery of the California Common Core Standards.  Some of these assessments are used as formative assessments as teachers are able to use the data to provide specific interventions and/or challenges to students who need them.  These are:

    Grades K-1: Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System
    Grades K-1: Renaissance Learning STAR Early Literacy (some sites)
    Grades 2-5: Renaissance Learning STAR online adaptive assessments in Reading and Mathematics
    Some of these assessments are more summative in nature.  These assessments focus on a specific strand of the California Common Core State Standards, and they are used to determine the student's overall understanding of these strands after the instructional units are complete.
    Grades K-5: District Writing Assessments
    Grades K-5: Math Performance Tasks 
    It is important to remember that individual assessments only provide one snapshot of the total performance picture for a student, grade level, school, or district.  Therefore, through the use of all of these assessment strategies, we are able to monitor student progress, adjust instructional practice, and provide intervention or challenge as needed.  These data combined with a positive school climate, quality professional development, supportive home/school relations, and an active school community provide us with the tools needed to ensure we are supporting students toward social-emotional and academic success.