Comprehensive Local Assessment Plan

  • Why We Assess: Vermont's Focus on Equity in Educational Assessment
    This document was developed for supervisory unions/districts (sus/sds), schools and
    educators who may have questions or are fielding questions from students, families and
    caregivers, and community members about the purpose of state summative assessments and
    student participation in those assessments (i.e., whether they can refuse or “opt-out”).  


    All students in the Essex Westford School District participate in local assessments.
    Universal Screening: As part of the assessment process in EWSD, all students will participate in a universal screening assessment three times per year in reading and mathematics to determine who may be at risk and what type of support they might need to progress toward grade-level goals. Once teachers determine which students are struggling or at risk, they consider other assessment results and may administer a diagnostic assessment to help them better understand why students are struggling in a particular area. Students who are identified as already meeting the standard will be considered for relevant deeper learning opportunities.


    The schools in the Essex Westford School District use multiple types of assessments to evaluate student learning on an ongoing basis.
    These include formative and summative assessments and, as part of the assessment process, may also include portfolios, projects, performances, and exhibitions. 

    Formative assessments are designed to provide an opportunity for students to practice learning and inform the teacher's instruction. Formative assessments are considered part of the learning, and they need not be graded in the same way as summative assessments (end-of-unit exams or quarterlies, for example) are. Formative assessments check for understanding along the way and guide teacher decision making about future instruction; they also provide feedback to students so they can improve their performance. Formative assessments are a critical part of the PLC process and help us answer question 2, "how will we know our students are learning or have learned" what we need them to. 

    Summative assessments are designed to evaluate the student's mastery of specific learning goals.  They are given periodically to determine at a particular time what students know and are able to do. Summative assessments are often associated with standardaized tests such as State assessments, but they are also an important part of our overall assessment plan. Summative assessments are a means to guage, at a particular point in time, student learning relative to content standards. 

    Here are some examples of summative assessments:

    • State Assessments
    • District benchmark or interim assessments
    • End of unit tests
    • End of term or semester exams

    Summative assessments happen further down the learning path. We use formative assessmentsto provide information at the classroom level, to make instructional adjustments and inform interventions during the learning process.

    Our full Comprehensive Local Assessment Plan includes common local and state assessments.

    If you have any questions about the different types of assessments or our local assessment plan, please contact Jackie Tolman