A commitment to provide all students with the necessary skills to thrive as 21st century learners, workers and citizens.
2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

A Balanced Approach to Assessment

VBCPS uses multiple types of assessments to inform instruction, to measure subject mastery and the application of 21st century skills.This balanced approach to assessment includes formats such as summative, formative, standarized and performance assesssments. In VBCPS, minimum competency is only the foundation, not the final outcome.

Formative and Summative Assessments


Formative assessments help teachers determine how well a student is learning a concept or subject during the teaching process and to provide feedback. They are used to determine if a topic needs to be retaught or if further instruction is needed on a concept. In a classroom, this type of assessment may look like questioning, conferencing, peer/teacher evaluation, exit tickets, portfolio checks, quizzes and self-evaluation.

Summative assessments are used during and after a concept is taught to evaulate student mastery. These types of assessments may look like student-designed labs, performance tasks, portfolio reviews and demonstrations.

Standardized Assessments

These assessments evaluate student performance by a set of criteria administered across a wide population.

  • SOL Tests: State-mandated tests designed to measure student learning and achievement in grades 3-12 in English, mathematics, science and history/social science.
  • ACT: Measures achievement in English, mathematics, reading and science and assesses college readiness. It isused for college applications.
  • ReadiStep: Measures achievement in English, mathematics, reading and science and provides information about educational and career plans. Administered in grade 8.
  • PSAT/NMSQT: Measures scholastic aptitude in critical reading, mathematics and writing and is used to provide students with practice for the SAT.
  • SAT: Measures scholastic aptitude in critical reading, mathematics and writing and is used by students in college applications.

Performance Assessments

These assessments measure knowledge, understanding, ability and skill. They can include real-world scenarios that require critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Performance assessments are often designed and implemented by teachers specifically for their individual classrooms. However, the school division schedules and implements the following performance assessments:

  • Integrated Performance Task (IPT): Measures critical thinking, problem solving and written communication through a performance task that uses real-life scenarios. Administered in grades 4 and 7.
  • College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA+): Measures analysis and problem solving as well as writing effectiveness and mechanics. Administered in English 11 courses.
  • Teachers use a variety of methods to gauge student progress and use that to “form” or develop future lessons to address the classroom needs. These are called formative assessments.

Last Modified on Friday, November 14, 2014