DASD Major Assessments

Major Assessments

Assessment Terminology

  • Adaptive – an assessment that adapts the student’s ability level. Found on computer-based tests that have the ability to assign questions based on the accuracy of a prior question.
  • Benchmark – short tests administered throughout the school year that give teachers immediate feedback on how students are meeting academic standards. Regular use will show student growth.
  • Diagnostic - an assessment that diagnoses student strengths and areas of need.

Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)

Grades K-6

The DRA is an individually administered assessment of a student’s reading capabilities given one to three times per year. It will identify a student’s reading level, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Tasks measured by the DRA test are divided into several skill sets. Rhyming, alliteration, segmentation, and phonemic awareness are tested in the phonemic awareness section. Letter naming, word-list reading, spelling, decoding, analogies, structural analysis, and syllabication are tested in the alphabetic principle/phonics portions. Oral reading fluency or words per minute for contextual reading are tested under fluency. Vocabulary, comprehension, and reading engagement skills are also measured in the test.


Grades 1 and 3

The CogAT is a test of reasoning skills. It’s not like a word study or math test where if you know the words or the facts you can get a 100%. There is no defined curriculum for the CogAT. The test measures reasoning ability with words, quantitative concepts and non-verbal (spatial) pictures. It is a norm-referenced test and the national average is the 50th percentile. A 50th percentile score means your child scored as well or better than 50 percent of the population who took the same assessment and is considered average. The CogAT is administered to students in grade 1 and grade 3 in the Dallastown Area School District.

A Parent's Guide to Understanding the CogAT Assessment

Study Island Benchmark

Grades 3-8

The Study Island Benchmark is administered two to four times a year in Reading and Mathematics. This computer-based assessment consists of approximately 30 questions that are a representative sample of the Pennsylvania Core Standards. Each student receives the same questions. The intent is to predict student performance on the PSSAs, measure growth after multiple administrations, and provide feedback to the teacher to inform instruction.

Classroom Diagnostic Tool (CDT)

Grades 9-10

The CDT is a set of online assessments, divided by content area, designed to provide diagnostic information in order to guide instruction and remediation of Pennsylvania Standards. This is an adaptive test in that questions are asked based on the accuracy of prior questions. If a child answers incorrectly on a 9th grade concept, he or she may be asked a question at an 8th grade level from the same content. This pattern continues until the student answers a question correctly. The CDT assists teachers in supporting student academic strengths and in areas in need of improvement.This assessment is administered two to three times per year and consists of approximately 50 questions.

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)

Grades 3-8

The PSSA includes assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics which are taken by students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Students in grades 4 and 8 are administered the Science PSSA. The English Language Arts and Mathematics PSSAs include items that are consistent with the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The Science PSSA include items that are aligned to the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science, Technology, Environment, and Ecology.

Keystone Exam

Grades 9-11

Keystone exams are end–of-course assessments in designated content areas. The Keystone Exams serve two purposes: (1) high school accountability assessments for federal and state purposes, and (2) high school graduation requirements for students beginning with the class of 2017. The Algebra I and Literature Keystone Exams include items written to the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts. The Biology Keystone Exam includes items written to the Assessment Anchor/Eligible Content aligned to the enhanced Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science.

Each exam is designed in modules that reflect distinct, related academic content common to the traditional progression of coursework. Students receive a score for each module. The average of both scores is used to determine a student’s proficiency. If the overall average does not meet proficiency requirements, the student can retest one or both modules after receiving supplemental instruction from the school district. There are summer and winter retest dates.

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