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Putting Assessments to the Test with Pathways2.0

June 27, 2024

By: Kendall Hunt RPD with contributions from the editorial team

While assessments may not be the most exciting aspect of education, when implemented intentionally, they hold significant value for the learning success of each student. According to educators, the goal of educational assessments is, “ongoing, visible, lifelong learning, and assessments can serve as valuable tools before, during, and after lessons to support and validate student progress”.

All assessments are not created equally, and each “category” has its own considerations. When putting assessments to the test using the Pathways2.0 Reading and Language Arts program, here’s what you will need in order to craft quality pre-assessments, formative assessments, and summative assessments.


Whether it’s a spelling pretest or an interest inventory, pre-assessments let students show what they know before instruction begins. They give teachers valuable information to allow students to demonstrate their existing knowledge before instruction begins. These assessments provide teachers with valuable insights to tailor their instruction and pair student needs to interests within the unit’s theme.

Pathways2.0 places renewed emphasis on pre-assessment, both through formal assessments like the Basic Reading Inventory and more informal self-assessment tasks, such as independent word sorts in spelling and vocabulary lessons. Pre-assessments not only help teachers gauge students’ proficiency in a topic or skill but also empowers students by showing them where they stand as they begin a unit. This awareness often boosts student confidence, as they discover they know more than they initially thought.

Formative assessments

Formative assessments play a crucial role in education by continuously monitoring student progress during their learning journey. Unlike one-time tests, formative assessments are ongoing and adaptive. Let’s explore what formative assessment is and why it matters:

The definition of Formative Assessments is, “a continuous, low-or no-stakes process used by both students and teachers during learning.” It aims to elicit and use evidence of student learning to improve understanding of intended disciplinary outcomes and support students in becoming self-directed learners. Key components of formative assessments include:

   1.   Clarifying Learning Goals: Students need context for what they’re learning, including why and how it connects to previous lessons, and what success looks like.

   2.   Eliciting and Analyzing Evidence: Gather evidence through various methods (whiteboard, surveys etc.) to help inform instructional adjustments.

   3.   Respective Teaching and Learning: Teachers and students collaborate to support strengths, interests, and needs.

The purpose of a formative assessment is to help teachers identify struggling concepts, skills, or learning standards. They guide adjustments to lessons and instructional techniques in real time, promoting student growth. Remember, formative assessments are about learning, not grading, Immediate accuracy isn’t the main goal, but engaging and understanding over time will provide much better results and benefit your students.

Summative assessments

Summative assessments play a crucial role in education by evaluating students’ achievement, growth, and progress after completing a unit or project. The key aspect of summative assessments include:

   1.   Purpose of Summative Assessments: Will serve as a final evaluation of what students have learned during a specific period (unit, semester, or project). Summative assessments emphasize the application of acquired knowledge and skills.

   2.   Skills Over Knowledge: Summative assessments should involve “cognitive tasks” that require learners to apply content knowledge in meaningful ways. The goal is not merely to test knowledge but to assess students’ ability to use that knowledge effectively.

   3.   Analyzing Unfamiliar Information: Summative assessments challenges students to analyze new information using the skills evaluated through formative assessments. This would be a perfect time to review what new knowledge has been developed. An example would be a better understanding of unfamiliar terms.

   4.   Pathways2.0 Summative Assessments: Whether they are end-of-unit reading tests or guided reading running records, measure the application of knowledge rather than plain knowledge itself, which will serve students well in the long run. These assessments prepare students for real-world scenarios where knowledge alone isn’t enough.

Pathways2.0 assessment resources

Pathways2.0 equips teachers with valuable assessment resources. Within each Daily Lesson Guide (nine-themes per grade level), you will find a chart detailing suggested assessments, categorized as pre-assessment, formative assessments, and summative assessments. Additionally, with in each DLG contains Appendices C which provides great resources to help teachers administer quality assessments.

The Pathways2.0 program makes it easy for teachers to administer clear, effective, quality assessments that will enhance student learning. Discover its potential for your classroom this fall!

                     How will you incorporate assessments into your classroom in a new way this year?