Teacher with students in classroom

The Starkville Oktibbeha School District's strategic approach to Assessments is based on a single premise... every child can grow.  Although each student is different, with different learning styles, different strengths, different early learning experiences and different supports outside of school, the common denominator for every child is that he or she has the ability to take the next step. Wherever they begin, there is always room to grow and learn something new. And, growth changes outcomes.

No matter the starting point, our goal is for every student to achieve one year's growth during one school year.

The district uses a number of benchmarks and criteria to measure our success as educators, and Assessments is one means of evaluating how we're doing. By utilizing both district-level and state-required assessments, SOSD establishes a shared responsibility for growth with teachers, students and families.


Student raising his hand in classSimply put, an Assessment is an evaluation. It's tempting to call them "tests", but just knowing the right answers isn't always the full story. Using Assessment models more broadly and consistently helps us understand where a student is on his or her individual journey of growth and informs educators on how we need to adjust instruction, what needs reteaching, and how we can extend learning so students can reach their growth for the year. In short, Assessments help us teach in a way that really reaches kids right where they are.

When we think about "testing" this way, Assessments really become relationship-builders. Teachers learn more about each student's individual needs with every Assessment given. The Assessments help us identify where real needs are, and they become invaluable tools as we develop plans to meet those needs -- all with the goal of helping each child achieve growth.