Oct 09

Baseline Assessment


What are baseline assessments anyway?
Baseline Assessments: Know what your students know
By Jami D. Jones | New Teacher Support Center Virtual Coach
Hello again from your friends here at NTSC! May this email find you on the other side of an absolutely stellar first few weeks of school! Hopefully, students are beginning to follow classroom routines and procedures with ease, your Back to School Night presentation was on point, and you’ve made it home before 7pm at least once or twice. If not, hang in there- we’ve got you!

When we talk about the beginning of the school year, we cannot stress enough the importance of introducing classroom routines and procedures with the utmost intention and care, but the first few weeks of school is also the right time to find out just what your students know. Depending on what grade and subject you teach, your students may enter your classroom with a file full of data: standardized test scores, report card grades, awards and honors, and perhaps even loads of dirt from last year’s teacher/teachers (ut-oh!). And while it may be tempting to take a student’s history as current information, keep in mind that a lot can happen between June and September.

Assessing where your students are at now is essential in crafting lessons that are designed to support your class’s specific academic strengths and weaknesses, and facilitate accurate progress monitoring. The best way to measure your students’ growth is to know where they are on day 1. And while we suggest periodic assessments throughout a unit (also known in the biz as “formative assessments”), starting with a baseline assessment or “pretest” and ending with a summative assessment or “unit test” will always serve as a wonderful measure of your students’ learning and your teaching.

Now, your district may have purchased specific baseline assessments such as Dibels, DRA, MAP, and TerraNova that can serve to give you an idea of your students’ overall performance in Reading or Math, but we also urge you to create your own baseline assessments that can test for a student’s performance on a specific task (like a running record that can assess a student’s reading level) or content knowledge (like a multiple choice or fill in the blank quiz at the start of a new unit).

Check out the links below for more information and resources to guide you in selecting meaningful baseline assessments:

Remember, “assessment” does not need to be a dirty word. Baseline assessments give you information to drive your instruction, making it purposeful and tailored to the students sitting before you. Keep that in mind, and your lessons will be targeted and meaningful, and you will see incredible progress!

If you find you need additional support in baseline assessments (or any other area!), remember, our virtual coaches are always here to help. Just click on the link or button below to fill out an NTSC New Teacher Profile and an NTSC Virtual Coach will reach out to you ASAP!

If there is something you’d like to know more about, please let us know! We’d love to hear from you. Just click on this link, Contact Us , and send us your comment or suggestion.


Jami D. Jones | Virtual Coach
New Teacher Support Center
Jami’s expertise spans ten years of teaching and instructional coaching experience in K-8 settings. Her coaching relationships have been established on trust and the common goal of student achievement, both of which cultivates transformative practices for new teachers.