Transforming Learning: Assessment Drives Instruction

For any teacher to be successful, it is important to be aware of what your students already know and what they’re struggling with. That’s why, at The Foundations School, we ensure that assessment drives instruction. Too often, schools only assess students at the end of the year. Combine this with large classes, and it is nearly impossible for a teacher to know where their students are falling behind and who might need extra help. 

At The Foundations School, our small class sizes combined with regular assessments mean that teachers can provide individualized instruction to our students. “We’re able to know where the students are all year long, at any time,” said Jerry Crank, CCE’s Chief Operating Officer. “[We can] adjust the curriculum for them appropriately, so that ultimately, they end up being successful.” 

Since ensuring grade-level reading is one of the main goals of The Foundations School, one of our primary forms of assessment is the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA). This individually administered assessment measures a child’s reading capabilities. We assess five times a year, including at the start and end of the school year.

Another one of our primary goals at The Foundations School is to practice creativity and arts integration. We measure this using a creativity assessment that looks at growth in four areas: creative confidence, problem solving, originality, and creative elaboration. The assessments are conducted three times a year: at the start of the school year, mid-way through the year, and once again at the end of the year. At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, our students were measuring at a level 2 on average, meaning that they were scoring as “malleable” on a 1-4 level scale (stable, malleable, creative, and creative competence). By the end of the year, the students collectively averaged a gain of one level, advancing to level 3, or “creative.”

With these assessments, we know what works for our students and what helps them grow as creative scholars. The use of these assessments in the classroom is just one example of how The Foundations School is meeting CCE’s goal of transforming teaching and learning.