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MFISD’s new assessments give teachers quality over quantity

Yarda Leflet

Yarda Leflet, the assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Marble Falls Independent School District, gave the Board of Trustees a mid-year progress report on new teaching assessment tools. Screen-captured image

Students are taking fewer assessment tests, but teachers are learning more from the results this year in the Marble Falls Independent School District, according to Yarda Leflet, the assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. 

Leflet laid out the mid-year results of a new battery of assessments during the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 21, adding a big shoutout to the teachers who helped choose and implement the Amplify and NWEA Map assessments.

“Thirty teachers showed up in June and spent nine hours in a room to work on this,” Leflet told after the meeting. “They studied before they came. They took the time during the summer. They worked hard on this. They showed how much they cared.” 

Bottom line: Teachers were giving too many different assessment tests, many of which they did not like. For example, pre-kindergarten teachers said they were spending more time testing than providing instruction.

“The teachers brought up that they really wanted something different — something with better data they could use,” Leflet said. “I really appreciated how honest they were in the process. The systems chosen this year are pretty robust. It’s quality over quantity.”

This year, the district will conduct two batteries of assessments, three times each. Results are measured against each other as the year progresses to discover teaching gaps and growth patterns. One big plus with the new assessments is the ability to target an individual student’s needs. 

“That’s how teachers target their interventions,” Leflet said. “They can monitor how their intervention is working.” 

The end-of-the-year assessment, or screener, will show the year’s progress and help plan for next year. Teachers will know where they need more development and can better measure the strengths and weaknesses of each student and the classroom. 

“We have found several areas that we can grow in,” Leflet said. “Our staff, leaders, all of us are working hard to do the very best to look at all these growth areas for the rest of this year and coming into next year. In the end, our teachers, instructors, and leaders received a lot of time back, and they still have input on all the assessments.”