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The process of gathering information to monitor progress and make educational decisions about individual children or groups of children.

Informal Assessment

Assessment that does not follow prescribed rules for administration and scoring and that has not undergone technical scrutiny for reliability and validity. Teacher-made tests, end-of-unit tests and running records are all examples of informal assessment. Non-standard methods of assessment that can include observation, teacher-made tests, and portfolios.

Instructional Planning

A process of making decisions for classroom instruction based, in part, upon assessment data.


The process of making a decision or reaching a conclusion in light of data. In schools, evaluation usually involves decision-making about student performance based upon information obtained from an assessment process applied to groups of children in units such as classes or schools.


A method to determine a student's ability to complete certain tasks or demonstrate mastery of a skill or knowledge of content

Progress Monitoring

A process in which assessment data keep teachers informed about the child's progress in learning during a given period of time. These are quick probes which sample critical skills that indicate to the teacher if the child is making adequate progress toward grade level reading ability at the end of the year


The dependability or consistency of an instrument across time or items.


The quality of a test or the degree to which an instrument measures what it was designed to measure.

Validity of Test Use

The appropriate use of a specific instrument.

Raw score

The first score obtained in testing; usually represents the number of items correct.

Standard Deviation

A unit of measurement that represents the typical amount that a score can be expected to vary from the mean in a given set of data.

Standard Error of Measurement

The amount of error determined to exist using a specific instrument, calculated using the instrument's standard deviation and reliability.

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