The Assessment System
The Consortium’s assessment system comprises an integrated set of components, each one vital to the success of the others and all dependent upon the professionalism of the teacher-practitioners, the extensive collaboration and support they provide each other, and the active participation of students.
1. Student Work
Students complete written tasks that require extensive reading, writing, and revising and are then presented orally for external evaluation. The tasks grow out of curriculum and classroom discussions and allow for student contribution and choice.
2. Graduation Requirements
Students must complete graduation-level written tasks and oral presentations, known as PBATs (performance-based assessment tasks), including an analytic essay on literature, a social studies research paper, an extended or original science experiment, and problem-solving at higher levels of mathematics. Students must also take and pass the NYS English Language Arts Regents exam. Schools may add on additional tasks, for example, in the creative arts, foreign language, and supervised internships.
3. System Accountability
Teachers design rubrics across the curriculum and revise them as needed. They also participate in annual Moderation Studies (for reliability), evaluating not only student work but also the assigned tasks. Curriculum meets state standards, ensuring validity; predictive validity is achieved through college attendance data.
4. Professional Development
Underpinning the assessment system is the extensive teacher-led professional development offered both by the Consortium’s Center for Inquiry and at individual schools. Consortium teachers and staff collaborate on curriculum and rubrics, design courses that are content-rich and support student questioning and voice, author books and articles, annotate reading lists, and serve as mentors for each other, visiting classrooms, participating in PBAT presentations, and leading workshops throughout the year.
5. External Evaluation
Student presentations are assessed by external evaluators using Consortium rubrics. In addition, Consortium schools are evaluated by department of education superintendents, members of the Performance Assessment Review Board (PAR Board), and are the subjects of research reports overseen by prominent educators from colleges, universities, and other education institutions.