How should students' scaled scores be used on the CommonLit Assessment Series?

This article is intended only for customers and partners using the Assessment Series.

CommonLit’s Assessment Series is designed to give educators a measure of students’ performance compared to end-of-year expectations at the time of the test. Because higher scaled scores indicate better performance on grade-level reading skills, students’ scores can be used to identify which students are high performers and which students may need more support.

A number of factors outside of the classroom can impact how well a student performs on an assessment (e.g., how well they slept, what they ate, social factors; Bandalos, 2018; Crocker & Algina, 2008), so students’ scores should be viewed as an estimate of their performance rather than a single source of truth. Students’ assessment scores serve as a checkpoint for teachers and administrators and are best used in conjunction with other information (e.g., other reading assessment scores, data from CommonLit lessons assigned throughout the school year) to make informed decisions about student progress. 

Students’ assessment scores should not be used for other purposes, including to evaluate teacher performance. Students' scores on CommonLit Assessments are simply snapshots of their performance, so they should be used within the scope of assessing students’ knowledge and skills.

CommonLit recommends that each assessment in the series is administered in a consistent proctoring format and that students are encouraged to put forth their best effort. Students’ effort levels can affect whether or not their scores are accurate representations of their ability levels.