Benchmark Assessments Parent Letter 2020-2021
September 29, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This year, we’re all facing unexpected challenges, and having students take assessments from home is one of them. Diagnostic assessments, such as i-Ready (Language Arts & Math) and Star (Reading), help us monitor student growth and develop paths of instruction for students. These assessments are given over the course of the year to help us monitor student progress. With the hybrid schedule, students may be taking some of the assessments during their remote learning time. Teachers will contact parents when students are expected to complete such an assessment as part of their remote learning work.
In order to support this process at home, please help supervise your child’s diagnostic assessments the same way a supportive teacher would by encouraging students to work in a quiet location. Allow them to take a break if needed or come back to the assessment later. Most importantly, please allow your child to complete these assessments independently, resisting the urge to help students answer questions. Helping with the technology is okay and encouraged. This will give us a more accurate picture of how your child is progressing through the curriculum and provide data on where we can provide more personalized instruction.
These diagnostic assessments are different from classroom tests or quizzes. Expect that your child will receive questions they will struggle with and that we do not expect them to answer everything correctly. The assessments will give questions above and below your child’s expected level of knowledge in order to determine his or her level of understanding. If your child appears “stuck”, encourage them to make a good choice and move on. Please review the attached handout giving more information about specific assessments. In addition, we are providing videos on our district website that will explain more about particular assessments in case you have questions.
We know it’s difficult to watch your child struggle, even if that struggle is productive. We’re asking for your trust that the best ways to help us meet your child’s unique needs this year are to help prepare them before and support them during the diagnostics. Thank you again for your cooperation as we work together to grow your child’s learning in this unprecedented time.
Ann Marie VanSickle
District Testing Coordinator
973-300-3800 ext 103