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

Compass to 2015: Strategic Objective 2

The primary focus of Compass to 2015 is on teaching and assessing the skills that students need to thrive as 21st century learners, workers and citizens.

This means that our students have to be able to do more than just perform well on standardized tests they must also be critical and creative thinkers, innovators and problem solvers. They must demonstrate global awareness, independence, effective communication and collaboration.

Our Philosophy

VBCPS believes that a balanced assessment system employs multiple types of assessments including, but not limited to performance tasks, multiple-choice tests, essays and portfolios. Our balanced assessment system provides qualitative and quantitative data to assist in improving classroom instruction and measures both subject mastery and 21st century skills.

From the state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized tests to performance assessments that include real-world scenarios, VBCPS is dedicated to a balanced approach to assessments. In VBCPS, minimum competency is only the foundation, not the final outcome.

Standardized Assessments

These assessments evaluate student performance by a set of criteria administered across a wide population. They provide quantitative data on the academic proficiency of students when compared with their peers across Virginia and/or the nation.

  • 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.college readiness. Like the SAT, the ACT is also used for college applications.
  • EXPLORE: 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 go beyond the standardized and multiple-choice tests to measure knowledge, understanding, ability and skill. These 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.
Videos posted on this site that support the Compass to 2015 Strategic Plan for Student Success may include interviews with former Superintendent James G. Merrill (now superintendent of Wake County Schools in North Carolina). They remain on this site not only as an important source of information but also as an acknowledgement of the leadership he provided in executing the strategic plan.

Last Modified on Friday, April 11, 2014