Assessment Glossary 

Major assessments administered by DCPS


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Unit Assessments (formerly Paced Interim Assessments (PIA))

The DCPS Unit Assessments cover standards included in each unit as listed in the DCPS scope and sequence documents. These assessments show what knowledge and skills students have mastered, and where instructional time and resources need to be focused.

The Unit Assessments are administered six times a year in English Language Arts and Mathematics for students in grades 2 – 8, and those enrolled in high school courses that correspond to English I, English II, Algebra I, and Geometry. Included in the six administrations is one Pretest, Unit Test 1 to 5. 

These interim assessments are a combination of multiple choice questions and performance based tasks. They are administered online and incorporate interactive and technology enhanced items. Second grade students will take both ELA and Math in paper/pencil mode. 

Learn more about DCPS scope and sequence »

Achievement Network Assessment (ANet)

The Achievement Network (ANet) Assessment is another type of paced interim assessment, used at approximately one-sixth of schools in DCPS. It is aligned to the ANet Schedule of Assessed Standards and administered four times a year to students in grades 3 to 8. All four assessment cycles are administered prior to the state summative assessment, DC CAS.

National Assessment Educational Progress (NAEP)

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) or The Nation’s Report Card is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do on core subjects like mathematics, reading, science and writing.

The results of the NAEP, assessed biannually, are used to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States.

More information on NAEP can be found in OSSE’s website »

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assesses students' foundational reading skills in grades K-5. The DIBELS assessments are designed to be short fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills, and are comprised of seven measures to function as indicators of phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency with connected text, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. 

School-wide Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI)

The School-wide Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) is a reading assessment test that assesses students' reading levels and helps teachers adjust instruction according to students' needs, track students' reading growth over time, and match readers to text. Scholastic Reading Inventory is for all students in grades 6-10 and is administered school-wide each year at the beginning and end of the year.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)

What is PARCC?

PARCC is a new, more rigorous assessment aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (reading) and Math. The PARCC is a computer-based assessment that requires students to think critically and solve real world    problems. PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. The PARCC will replace the DC CAS in the 2014/2015 school year. DCPS students in grades 3-8 and HS students enrolled in subjects identified by the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will take the PARCC Assessment.

PARCC Letter from the Chancellor
PARCC Letter from the Chancellor Amharic
PARCC Letter from the Chancellor Chinese
PARCC Letter from the Chancellor French
PARCC Letter from the Chancellor Spanish 
PARCC Letter from the Chancellor Vietnamese 


PARCC 1-Pager for Families
PARCC 1-Pager for Families Amharic 
PARCC 1-Pager for Families Chinese
PARCC 1-Pager for Families French 
PARCC 1-Pager for Families Spanish
PARCC 1-Pager for Families Vietnamese 

Why are we switching to PARCC?

Our goal is to ensure that all of our students are on track to be ready for college and career after high school. The PARCC matches the high expectations of the new CCSS standards and assesses the skills necessary for success in college, career and life. The PARCC will give students, parents and teachers specific feedback about whether or not students are on track or off track for college and career and what extra support they need.

What are the main differences between the DC CAS and PARCC?

Why are there two testing windows for PARCC? 

There will be two longer testing windows for the PARCC Assessment. The longer window provides schools with the flexibility to schedule testing in a way that makes the most sense for their students and teachers. It does NOT indicate that the test is longer. There are two windows instead of one because there are two parts for both reading and math called the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) and the End of Year Assessment (EOY). (See below “What are the parts of the PARCC assessment?” for more information about the PBA and EOY assessments)

What are the parts of the PARCC assessment?

In the 2014-2015 school year DCPS students in grades 3 - 8 and students enrolled in Algebra I, Geometry, English I &II will take the PARCC assessment in English Language Arts and Mathematics.

In the elementary grades ELA and math will each have two parts.

  • Students will take the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) in March and April.
  • The ELA PBA will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text and have a narrative writing task. Students will read multiple texts and write several responses to demonstrate their ability to read, understand, and analyze complex texts independently and pull information from several sources when writing.
  • The math PBA will focus on applying skills and concepts to solve multi-step real world problems and construct and express a mathematical argument.
  • Students will take the End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) in May.
    • The ELA EOY will focus on reading comprehension.
    • The math EOY will focus on mathematical reasoning.

The results from the PBA and the EOY will be combined to produce a student’s summative assessment score.

Why won’t results be used for teacher evaluations (IMPACT)?
For the past four years DCPS has used students’ DC CAS data to calculate “value-added” scores as part of teachers’ overall evaluation. DCPS has decided to hold for one year, acknowledging that the data from the new test may not be available in time for the school system to generate final teacher ratings by mid-summer, when it traditionally informs educators of their scores. DCPS will return to using value-added measurements during the 2015-16 school year. You can see the Chancellors full statement here.


Where can I find more information about PARCC?

This is the official PARCC website and here is a more extensive FAQ.

The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) Alternate Assessment

In SY 2014-2015, the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) will replace DC CAS-Alt in Math and ELA/Literacy.

The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) Alternate Assessment is an assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS), and addresses curriculum, instruction, and assessment needs of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. It allows  TT students to demonstrate their performance towards achieving the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) at reduced depth, breadth, and complexity. The NCSC will test in grades 3-8 and 11 in reading, writing, and math.

NCSC assessment is a computer based assessment and will be administered within 6 weeks in the Spring.

More information on the NCSC Alt Assessment visit here and here.

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