At NWEA, students are the central focus of our mission: partnering to help all kids learn. This mission has been at the core of who we are for over 40 years and is the special ingredient in all the work we do.
We are a not-for-profit known for partnering with schools and districts to provide assessment solutions that are developed by research and support multiple measures of learning and growth. We care about quality assessment because it is a critical part of the teaching and learning cycle – providing information educators need to inform instruction and ensure all students learn and succeed.
Over the last two decades we have increasingly more data about student performance, but we know that many teachers say they do not feel well prepared to use that information to improve student learning, or to communicate it effectively to parents. As a result, opportunities for parents and teachers to use student assessment data to support student learning has yet to be fully realized.
That's why we believe that assessment education needs to be strengthened so that more education stakeholders are "assessment literate."
And it is why an important part of our work is supporting educators through assessment education. We don't believe it is enough to create high-quality assessments. We also need to help educators and other stakeholders to become "assessment literate" - for them to learn what makes good assessment, to build their capacity to use data to inform teaching and learning, and to effectively communicate results. Our assessment education work aims to provide educators with this kind of support as they work to meet increased expectations for student learning, differentiated instruction, and equity.
This work is particularly important at this moment. There is an opportunity under ESSA to think differently about assessments, and particularly how they can help ensure all students learn and how they can help ensure equity. We to want be clear about the purpose and use of good assessment, to ensure that assessments support educators, and that their purposes and results are clear to parents. It provides us an opportunity to deliver on the promise of equity - and help improve education for all kids.
We've loved working with NWEA over these past 15 years because they don't just produce and sell a product, but they really work with us to talk about what works best for students and what works best for teachers.