Assessment Overview

Academic Assessment Information


The North Penn School District uses a variety of assessment types to monitor both student mastery of standards and growth in achievement. Ongoing assessment is important because the data allow teachers to adjust instruction to provide intervention or enrichment as appropriate. One way to classify types of assessments is by what they measure:

Summative assessments are administered at the end of a unit of instruction or at the end of the course. They measure student mastery of the skills and standards.

Benchmark assessments measure student mastery and/or growth in achievement at specific intervals throughout the year. They are used to identify areas of need and to monitor that students are progressing toward mastery at an appropriate rate.

Diagnostic assessments identify what students already know and can do as well as areas of need. The results allow the teacher to identify an appropriate starting point for instruction. They may be repeated periodically to monitor student progress.

Formative assessments provide real time, ongoing feedback on student progress toward mastering skills and standards. These are frequently teacher-created assessments and can be formal tasks or informal questioning to gauge student understanding.

Additionally, assessments can be classified by how they are scored:

Norm-referenced assessments measure student performance against a state or national peer group and rank students relative to their peers. The SAT and PSAT are examples of norm-referenced assessments.


Criterion-referenced assessments measure student performance against a standard of performance. The closer students are to the expected level of performance, the higher their score. PSSA and Keystone Exams are examples of criterion-referenced assessments.