It is essential that student performance is regularly assessed. ACT uses the following types of assessments to determine students’ skill levels, to evaluate performance, develop educational plans, and to develop a permanent school record.
Pretesting and Post -testing to Measure Academic Progress
At the beginning and end of each academic year, ACT will administer one or more evaluation tools as pre- and post-assessments to students. These assessments provide instructional guidance for teachers and Learning Coaches, help teachers to construct and implement the Personalized Learning Plan (PLP), and measure the student’s academic gains over the year.
Assessments within the Curriculum
As students’ progress through their courses, they will engage in many different types of formal evaluations, embedded within the curriculum.
Formal Evaluations (Evaluated by Teachers)
- Skills Checks—Brief online evaluations completed by Learning Coaches that gauge a student’s development with certain skills
- Quick Checks—Brief online assessments that provide automatic feedback for students, Learning Coaches, and teachers
- Quizzes—Short online assessments that provide automatic feedback for students, Learning Coaches, and teachers
- Portfolio Items—Written compositions, lab reports, short answer paragraphs, essays, book responses, and other assessments that require teacher evaluation of the student’s work
- Graded Discussions—Teacher-monitored “class discussions” in which students post thoughts, ideas, and reactions on a designated discussion board. Graded discussions are not used in all grade levels. The postings are required by specific assessment guidelines outlined in the curriculum and are evaluated by the teacher
- Audio/Visual Assessments—integrated into some courses such as foreign language and speech and debate; these assessments allow students to respond orally and/or record themselves and submit the recording to their teachers
- Unit Tests – Unit tests cover material from all lessons within a specific unit. They are online assessments that contain a variety of question types and are weighted more heavily than quizzes towards the student’s final grade
- Final Tests or Exams—Substantial end-of-semester assessments that provide students, Learning Coaches, and teachers with more comprehensive information about a student’s understanding of the instructional material
- End-of-Course Exams—Comprehensive assessments that may occur at the end of a required secondary course based on state guidelines and regulations
Student grades are based on a balanced combination of the formal evaluations listed above.
As required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, students in grades 9 – 12 will be required to take Keystone Exams in Algebra I, Literature, and Biology once they complete the course. Prior to graduation, students are required to achieve proficiency in Algebra I and Literature. Students who are unable to reach proficiency in these assessments will be required to demonstrate proficiency on an alternative form of assessment
Grading and Student Evaluation
Students are evaluated based on several types of assessments, such as quizzes, tests, portfolio items, and discussions.
Teachers are responsible for grading students’ work. Only the teacher is allowed to grade the student’s work.
The Grade Book
The Grade Book allows all Caretakers and/or Learning Coaches and upper-level students to view grades from both electronic assessments (immediate and automatic postings) and written work (posted by teachers after work is evaluated). The Connexus Grade Book is available to Learning Coaches and these students 24 hours a day, seven days a week and always reflects the student’s current status in each course in which s/he is enrolled (overall grade, grade in each course, grades on assessments within each course, and the number and percentage of lessons the student has completed).