Literacy Testing / Assessment

Cambridge Public Schools Assessment Practices

Assessment is the process of gathering evidence of student understanding to inform instructional decisions. Assessments support the work of effective educators in continually observing, probing, investigating, analyzing and responding to their students' thinking and performance. The most instructionally powerful assessments are daily formative assessments aligned to instructional objectives. At times, common district and state assessments are used to determine how all students are performing on cumulative subject matter and how student groups are progressing relative to all students, as well as to provide information about curricular gaps and professional learning needs. CPS assessments collectively and consistently provide relevant, purposeful, timely, and specific information about students’ performance and progress to educators, students, and families.

CPP-8 Assessment Overview

Beginning-of-Year Screeners
Preschool & Kindergarten September 3 - October 4
Grades 1 - 8 September 3 - 27

Middle-of-Year Screeners
Kindergarten - Grade 8 January 3 - 24 

End-of-Year Screeners
Preschool - Grade 8 May 19 - June 13 

No 8th Grade ELA i-Ready in Spring

All CPP-8 students complete literacy screeners annually to provide educators and caregivers with important information about each students’ strengths and areas for continued support.

CPP Screeners
Pre-Decoding Survey (RGR):
This very brief, one-to-one assessment is given twice annually in the Fall and Spring and provides educators and caregivers with information about each student’s understanding of basic literacy skills (letter names, vocabulary words, phonological awareness).

Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ): Within the first and last 45 days of school. This is a brief, reliable screening tool measures students' development within 5 areas: communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving and personal-social skills.

K-2 Screener: mCLASS
mCLASS is a research-proven, DESE-approved screener that includes timed, 1-minute measures of critical literacy skills. mCLASS typically takes 10-15 minutes per-student to complete.

mCLASS connects to a personalized learning program called "Boost Reading" that students can access inside and outside of school. This fun, adaptive online program provides each student with a unique sequence of lessons to address their specific literacy needs based on screener and diagnostic data. Learn more here >>

3-8 Screener: i-Ready
i-Ready is a computer adaptive screener. This means that as students are assessed, questions are adjusted (made easier or harder) based on their responses, capturing information related to grade-specific standards, in addition to foundational literacy skills. Because of its adaptive nature, i-Ready typically takes 45-90 minutes to complete.

Both mCLASS and i-Ready connect to personalized learning opportunities that students can access inside and outside of school. These adaptive online programs (Boost Reading / i-Ready Personalized Instruction) provide each student with an engaging sequence of unique lessons to address their specific needs based on diagnostic data.


DESE requires that students in grades 3-5, 8 &10 participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) each spring. Learn about the ELA State Assessment "MCAS" for students in grades 3-8 here >>

Unit (Curriculum Embedded) Assessments
In addition to district and state-mandated
screeners, each curricular unit includes brief, formal and informal assessments of student learning. These ongoing checks for understanding of students’ domain knowledge and literacy skills allow teachers, students and caregivers to know how students are independently performing and progressing relative to grade-level standards and goals.

Access Specific Assessment Information By Grade

Curriculum & Instruction

Related Links

Contact Us

135 Berkshire Street 
Cambridge, MA 02141
Fax: 617.349.6517

Emily Bryan, English Language Arts/Literacy Department Director
Allice Wong TuckerDistrict Instructional Lead Teacher: Literacy, Preschool - Grade 2
Maria MarroquinDistrict Instructional Lead: ELA/Math, Preschool - Grade 2

Katherine Simpson, District Instructional Lead: Literacy, Grades 3 - 5
Katie GribbenDistrict Instructional Lead: Literacy, Grades 6-8+ Transitions
Jennifer Hamilton, Dean of Curriculum & Program, English (Learning Community C) CRLS
Kelley Leary, ELA & Math Clerk

Meet our School-Based Literacy Interventionists >>
Meet our School-Based Literacy Coaches >>

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