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SERVE > Topic Areas > Assessment > School Level Assessment



Schools need to be strategic in their choices and uses of formal assessments and have a coherent set of assessment methods used for clearly articulated purposes. There are different purposes for assessments; some assessment methods are useful for monitoring student progress (i.e., portfolios), some are useful for setting high standards (i.e., graduation exhibitions); some are useful for program evaluation (i.e., performance tests reflecting the goals of a new science program); and some are useful for instructional diagnosis purposes (i.e., individual reading conferences). In addition to implementing a purposeful set of formal assessments (that go beyond state tests), school leaders should also consider how teachers can use assessment methods in their classrooms to better understand students' instructional needs in critical areas (like reading comprehension) and how they can develop common performance assessments (like essay writing across the curriculum) that reinforce deep understanding.


  • Assessing Young Children
  • Reading Assessment
  • Authentic Assessment

SERVE's work at the school level includes:

Assessing Young Children

The purpose of assessing young children is to collect information necessary to make important decisions about their developmental and educational needs. Assessment must always work to enhance opportunities for optimal growth, development, and learning. The process of determining individual developmental and education needs informs practice and provides a template for setting individual and programs goals.

Best practices for the assessment of young children include carefully selected strategies and instruments that measure specific characteristics over a period of time and in many different contexts. Such assessment provides a more accurate picture of the child’s needs and encourages appropriate decision making.

Given the importance of assessing children appropriately, it is critical that schools and districts give careful attention to the selection and planning of their assessment system. To help with this process, SERVE has developed the following products:

Assessing Kindergarten Children: What Schools Need to Know
This resource book is designed to guide schools systems through a decision-making process to design an assessment system that is best suited to their particular needs. Individuals involved in selecting assessment measures and designing schoolwide assessment systems can use this book as a planning guide – a tool to help them make decisions about assessments based on “best practices “ in early childhood assessment.

Assessing Kindergarten Children: A Compendium of Assessment Instruments
This document is designed to provide a quick overview of assessment instruments that can be used with kindergarten-aged children. Schools and state departments of education often need information on assessment instruments and lack a comprehensive resource that provides consistent information on many different instruments. The Compendium is designed to provide a starting point for gathering information on assessment instruments.

Teachers Using Formative Reading Assessments in Middle School

Reading comprehension is critical to success in high school. For that reason, middle school Language Arts and content area teachers must understand how to use assessment methods as tools for diagnosing students' reading comprehension strengths and weaknesses in order to help them improve. SERVE has developed a set of resources and a professional development program (called Competent Assessment of Reading—CAR) to help teachers understand and gain expertise in formative assessment practices in reading comprehension.