How do standards and scoring work with the assessments?

Here is the formula used in the portal to get a score for a language domain on an assessment:

(Number Correct / Standard ) * 100 = Score

The standard gives us a little more flexibility in what we expect students should accomplish on an assessment.

How do standards work and why do we have it set up this way?

Most teachers grade assessments with the following formula: Number Correct / Total Number of Questions. This means that the standard they are expecting students to meet is 100%, to get all of the answers correct. If there are 10 questions on the assessment, I am expecting students to get all 10 correct.

But what if a student gets 8 correct and has shown a good grasp of the content? Did they meet your expectations still? If so, then we can consider setting the standard at 8. Any students who score 8 out of 10 will then get a score of 100%. Students who get 9 or 10 out of 10 will get 110% or 120% accordingly.

It's a little like grading on a bell curve only we are not setting the standard based on the strongest and weakest students results on an assessment, but instead on a goal we would like to see students achieve that shows they have sufficiently grasped the content.

There are a lot of benefits to setting it up this way.

This lets us use a variety of assessment types and map them in the same way on a chart.

This strategy allows us to have assessments where there is no upper limit on the number they can achieve. For example, if our assessment is to see how many sentences a student can say in a minute, or how many words a student can read in a minute. We only need a goal or standard in this situation to get a score and then we will see that same range of ability. This also works for assessments where there is a specific number of questions to be answered, but students do not necessarily need to answer all of the questions correctly in order to show that they have grasped the content well. This is particularly helpful when it comes to something like writing paragraphs or essays. When you're grading student writing with a rubric, there is usually a total number of possible points, but that represents exceptional work. We don't need all of our students to achieve that level of writing to prove competency.

**The data we receive can be more helpful. **

We get to see a spread of data around the goal we have set. We can see which students have exceeded the goal and probably need some more challenging work, which students have met the goal, and which students are still in need of extra practice in that area. If most students are under the standard, we know that is likely an issue with how we have taught the material, whereas if most students have met the standard, we know that certain students may need to use a different kind of strategy to reach the standards.

The ultimate goal of assessments is...

to get actionable data on how students are doing in each area so that we can make better decisions about what will be most helpful for them.

  • If students are consistenly scoring well above 100%, then we know that the content may be too easy and we may want to step it up a notch.
  • If we notice students are consistenly scoring below 80% in an area such as reading while doing well in other areas, we know that we should focus extra time on reading and less time on other areas.

For WIDA scoring...

...the suggested standard is 4.5 since that is usually what is required for students to exit the ELL program. Then formula for an assessment then would be, for example, listening 3.3/4.5=73%. This means the student is 73% of the way to the goal for listening of exiting the ELL program.

Basically, when you see a percentage score for an assessment, it means that they are that far along to the goal!


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