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Right now, about four million kids across the country are getting ready to go back to school as ninth graders. The transition from middle school to high school is a big deal for the student, the student’s family, and for sending and receiving teachers. Research strongly suggests that ninth-grade grades...

In our previous blog, we began highlighting seven things that assessment-literate educators need to do when creating high-quality assessments. Let’s recap the first three: 1. Assessment-literate educators create and/or select assessments that balance formative and summative purposes to meet the information needs of all stakeholders, including students. 2. Assessment-literate educators establish clear...

In a perfect world, we would individualize assessment for every student, thus truly accounting for all differences in their prior knowledge, cultural differences, and cognitive styles. As we all know, this is near impossible and certainly impractical. But, as Linda Suskie shares in her article in the AAHE Bulletin from...

Every assessment has strengths and limitations, which means no single measure will serve every specific need. If your system has been built piecemeal over time, it’s likely to be chaotic, as various tools have been added to meet needs without a comprehensive look at the entire system. To create a...

As the school year comes to an end, we have an opportunity to reflect on our teaching, our assessment, and our learning. In this post, Scott Reed, a teacher at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois, shares how he incorporated student-designed questions in his classroom and engaged students in...

Assessment education matters, and we are happy to share a new site that brings together diverse perspectives and provides examples of how we can work together to advance assessment education. Here, Heather Lageman, a member of the National Task Force on Assessment Education, calls for reflection and action on improving...

Learning matters to everyone. Students, and everyone involved supporting their education, have questions about how well they are learning. The questions vary by role but answering them helps each stakeholder make a unique contribution to learning. By using good assessment practice, we can find the answers to questions at every...

How do you choose the right assessment? The answer depends on what questions you are trying to answer. Equally important is knowing how the assessment will get to those answers. From in-the-moment verbal feedback to technology-enhanced test items, modern assessment leverages a wide variety of techniques to surface evidence of student...

Joining forces with colleagues to share and interpret assessment results is a great way to enhance understanding of our students’ learning needs. Participating in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) is one effective way that we can facilitate this kind of collaboration. These PLCs can look different from school to school, but...

It’s testing season, no doubt about it. That time of year when teachers and students are fully immersed in assessments meant to measure student growth over the course of the school year and from year to year. Teaching is a stressful job even on the best of days. But during...

My colleague, Melissa Spadin, of San Diego County Schools, and I recently presented a webinar to PTA parents in Wisconsin. We were talking with them about assessment literacy and about the important role that parents, and especially students, play in a strong assessment system. For far too long, education has...

Students (practicing classroom teachers) in the Advanced Assessment Literacy Specialization – Masters of Science in Advanced Teaching Practices – share their thoughts on the issue of time. Their professor posed these questions: How do you make time for the effective use of formative assessment for learning? Why do you? How can...

From all of us at AssessmentLiteracy.org and the National Task Force on Assessment Education, we’d like to extend a heartfelt Happy Holidays to all of our readers. 2017 was a great year for us and we have an even busier and more exciting 2018 lined up so we hope you come...

Developing and understanding one’s driving philosophies, or one’s mindset, is the most important element toward achieving great results. My driving philosophy as an educator is to constantly work toward maximizing learning for all my students. One of the key concepts that impacts successful learning is how I frame assessments in my...

Formative assessment, the integration of assessment with instruction or “assessment for learning,” has the potential to yield substantial learning gains (Black & Wiliam, 1998). Researchers often summarize the impact of programs and practices in terms of an effect size that measures the difference between the treatment and control groups. In this case,...

I teach assessment literacy in a graduate program (Masters of Science in Advanced Teaching Practices) designed specifically for classroom teachers to gain assessment knowledge and performance skills. It sounds pretty straight forward. The learning outcomes (also known as learning targets or goals) are clear–or at least I think they are!...

As practicing classroom teachers, we discuss differentiating instruction to meet the needs of each unique learner, but when was the last time you had a conversation about differentiating assessment? Stop. Think for a minute about that concept. What does differentiating assessment mean for you and for your students? The concept came...

So we all know we need to use data to drive instruction in our classrooms, but what exactly does that look like?  For most of us, when we hear the word “data” we immediately picture long and detailed reports, numbers written in small print and the overwhelming task of trying...

Heather Anderson, Interventionist and Instructional Coach at Juniper Elementary, Bend, Oregon, 2016 Oregon Teacher of the Year The beginning of the year is always an exciting time. New students, new hopes, new dreams. Building relationships is a key component to the new school year and essential to student success. I believe that taking time...

The start of the school year is an exciting time.  Everyone is refreshed, renewed and excited.  It is important to take advantage of this enthusiasm and put plans in place that last the entire year. Then, when February hits, you won’t be trying to create an assessment plan when you...

“The school's best ally in the task of nurturing a student's innate 'urge to learn' is, first and foremost, the parents.” -Bernie Poole Bus drivers have practiced their routes, kitchen ladies have laid in supplies for meals, teachers have set up their rooms creating beautiful bulletin boards and welcoming spaces, school...

In our last several blog posts, we’ve shared three of the four conditions that Stiggins and Chappuis insist must be met to ensure the effective use of student-involved classroom assessment. These were discussed at length in their article – Using Student-Involved Classroom Assessment to Close Achievement Gaps. To recap: Condition...

In our last couple of blog posts, we’ve shared two of the four conditions that Stiggins and Chappuis say must be met to ensure the effective use of student-involved classroom assessment. These were discussed at length in their article – Using Student-Involved Classroom Assessment to Close Achievement Gaps. Condition One:...

Stiggins and Chappuis discuss at length in their article – Using Student-Involved Classroom Assessment to Close Achievement Gaps (PDF) – the importance of student-involved classroom assessment. In our last blog post, we highlighted the first of four conditions that must be met to ensure the effective use of student-involved classroom assessment:...

Student-involved classroom assessment, which can be formative or interim in nature, is a powerful tool and one that Stiggins and Chappuis discuss at length in their article – Using Student-Involved Classroom Assessment to Close Achievement Gaps. What’s particularly interesting about their article is the four conditions that they highlight that...

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states and districts an opportunity to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning by ensuring that stakeholders in the education ecosystem are assessment literate. By explicitly incorporating training and professional development that supports assessment literacy into state ESSA applications, states can enhance student...

Student empowerment is an important movement in education, and is of especially great interest in student assessment circles. In the state of Oregon, raising the level of student empowerment has even resulted in legislation for a Student Assessment Bill of Rights. Oregon House Bill 2655, which was moved into law in...

In an earlier blog post – Assessment Literacy in the Education Ecosystem – An Opportunity to Leverage ESSA – we shared how assessment literacy plays an important holistic role across stakeholders. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states and districts an opportunity to strengthen the quality of teaching and...

In an effort to address the need for assessment-literate educators in a positive way, the National Task Force on Assessment Education was launched in October 2015. The Task Force is comprised of three advisors and 24 educators from 17 states, including pre-service and in-service educators, assessment experts and thought leaders....

Every educator, from federal, state, district, and school leaders, to classroom teachers and parents, plays an important part in creating assessment systems that support student learning. Principals provide leadership, and in collaboration with teachers, can powerfully impact the assessment environment in their schools. In a recent blog post, we shared...

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), schools have had the autonomy to balance annual assessments with assessments that provide regular, actionable feedback on each student’s growth, regardless of where he or she begins the school year. This new flexibility requires a balanced approach to using assessments...

It’s common knowledge that the word assessment conjures up negative thoughts but for those educators who truly understand assessment, they see assessment as an important part of their job as educator. For principals, this is especially true. Three members of The National Task Force on Assessment Education recently penned an...

The National Task Force on Assessment Education provides thought leadership and resources to foster a comprehensive understanding of assessment and its role in supporting student success. The Task Force convened to confront the very real challenge of the lack of assessment education for educators and to improve the national dialogue...

Given the important role that assessment plays in the classroom, at the school and district level, and at the state and federal level, it still amazes many how little educators really know about them. In a recent ASCD article – All About Accountability / Needed: A Does of Assessment Literacy...

  Formative assessment is the heart of the classroom.  It’s the moment-to-moment information coming at a teacher that allows them to make key decisions and changes within a lesson or unit.  It’s the tool that allows teachers to see their students’ learning and to make decisions about where to go next. There...

The National Task Force on Assessment Education provides thought leadership and resources to foster a comprehensive understanding of assessment and its role in supporting student success. The Task Force convened to confront the very real challenge of the lack of assessment education for educators and to improve the national dialogue...

Over the last two blog posts, we’ve broken down the definition of assessment literacy into its minutia. The first post detailed the purpose of assessment and second touched on learning targets and assessment quality. In this, our last post, we’ll detail the communication of assessment results and assessment and motivation. Like...

Our first post in breaking down the definition of assessment literacy, we detailed the purpose of assessment. In this post we’ll dive into learning targets and assessment quality. But first, it’s important to understand the overall definition of assessment literacy as defined by The National Task Force on Assessment Education: Assessment...

The importance of assessment literacy cannot be understated. Assessment literate educators are informed, reflective, and proactive practitioners of learning for students. In our last blog, we shared The National Task Force on Assessment Education’s definition of assessment literacy. To recap: Assessment is the process of gathering information about student learning to...

When educators are assessment literate, they are informed, reflective, and proactive practitioners. Educators in classrooms actively seek out evidence of student misunderstanding to address during the course of instruction; all educators actively seek out evidence of student needs to inform educational practice and policy.  All educators regard both formal and...

One of the toughest challenges and greatest rewards in teaching is assessment.  If you think back through highlights of your experience as a student, assessments probably stand out—whether the tough assignment that you nailed, the project that opened your eyes to new perspectives and interests, or on the negative side,...

Assessment is a process of gathering information and using it to inform decisions. Educators use assessment processes and data every day to make decisions that affect the lives of students and their families. This means that assessment literacy for educators, parents and students across the education system is an issue of...

While nuances abound, our mantra is simple: Assessment literacy is critical for improving student learning. This means… Assessment must serve an instructional role: The role of assessment must be expanded to serve as a teaching and learning tool used in the service of greater and broader student learning success. Schools...

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states and districts a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning by ensuring that stakeholders in their education ecosystem are assessment literate. Why is this important? Assessment literate educational leaders have an opportunity to do two very important things: They...

Our partner NWEA recently released their new National Agenda to promote their work in policy and advocacy on behalf of all students. NWEA’s Policy & Advocacy work is focused on building strong partnerships with education stakeholders and leading national efforts that ignite positive change to local, state, and national systems....

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results come out this month. In fact, every three years PISA results are announced. This international assessment measures 15-year-old students' reading, mathematics, and science literacy. The world starts talking about which of the 70 countries are doing well in what content areas and...

Our ongoing Task Force Member Spotlight blog series has shined the light on member backgrounds and why they are participating in the National Task Force on Assessment Education. The Task Force was launched in October of 2015 and has over twenty members committed to being a collective voice and transforming...

Assessment can be used to support learning, as well as validate it. Assessment is a daily ongoing part of teaching, but can also be scheduled to occur at certain critical points during or at the end of the school year. Which type of assessment you choose should match the purpose...

During the holidays, we wanted to thank all of the readers, partners, and educators that make our blog a success. As a way of closing out the year, we wanted to share our top posts from the past 12 months. We hope you enjoy them! 1. What Do You Need to...

Our ongoing Task Force Member Spotlight blog series has shined the light on member backgrounds and why they are participating in the National Task Force on Assessment Education. The Task Force was launched in October of 2015, and is designed to be a national voice on the need for assessment...

Teachers who use formative assessment as part of their everyday classroom toolbox… quickly identify important evidence of student learning and separate it from distracting information, readily perceive meaningful patterns among their students’ responses to questions and tasks, implement a broad range of formative assessment strategies automatically and flexibly as part...

The National Task Force on Assessment Education published a definition of assessment literacy, in part to put the topic of assessment literacy into context for a variety of education stakeholders. We talked with Task Force member Dr. Kathryn Dewsbury-White, President and CEO of the Michigan Assessment Consortium, about writing the...

Back in the 1980s, my colleague Nancy Conklin and I completed and published (1992) a 10-year ethnography of classroom assessment practices. We discovered that teachers typically spend a quarter to a third of their available professional time engaged in assessment-related activities. It is a big part of instruction! We concluded...

Launched in October 2015, the National Task Force on Assessment Education is designed to be a national voice on the need to increase assessment education and literacy. With two advisors and 23 members from 17 states, including pre-service and in-service educators, the Task Force seeks to develop new assessment approaches...

In order for states to close the achievement gap and ensure the success of all students, every state will need teachers who can interpret assessment results and take action based on accurate assessment data. Evidence strongly supports the need for teachers who are assessment literate, yet few colleges of education...

In order for states to close the achievement gap and ensure the success of all students, every state will need teachers who can interpret assessment results and take action based on accurate assessment data. Evidence strongly supports the need for teachers who are assessment literate, yet few colleges of education...

Our partners over at NWEA have sponsored three national studies focused on what various education stakeholders think about assessment. The surveys included students, parents, teachers, principals and superintendents. Today, as many kids are back in school and participating in fall testing, we’d like to share some parent views of assessment. In 2012,...

Our mantra here at AssessmentLiteracy.org is just that – making sense of assessments and understanding and interpreting the data to help improve student learning. While data literacy is certainly important when it comes to statistical analysis and psychometrics, for teachers, assessment data can often become cumbersome to parse and connect...

offer many advantages, including the ability to gather and compare data that’s collected over time—both within a single year and over the course of multiple years. An interim assessment that provides accurate longitudinal data benefits students, teachers, and administrators in different ways, but chief among them is the ability to...

Students are at the center of every assessment that teachers administer. They are the key decision makers about their own learning and they need to be engaged participants. Since many students can be intimidated when it comes to taking assessments and tests, teachers and parents must be transparent when it...

Practice Makes Perfect? Maybe Not. If you were asked to finish the phrase “Practice makes …” what is the first word that pops in your head? Did you say “perfect”? At least 99% of the people I have asked this question to in a professional development session of some sort have...

It’s not uncommon to find a classroom where a few highly motivated students monopolize the discussion. To ensure that all students are learning, teachers need to find opportunities to actively engage everyone in meaningful ways. While there are many ways to engage students on a day-to-day basis using formative assessment...

Back in October one of our partners, NWEA, published a blog by April Roethel titled Today’s Educators and Goldilocks – Making Tough Decisions for Positive Outcomes, that’s worth sharing. In her post, April makes a connection between Goldilocks and today’s educators and in particular, their need to make difficult decisions...

Since the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) became law in December 2015, the role of assessments in accountability systems have been hot topics. ESSA provides more flexibility to states in designing accountability systems and creating more balanced systems of assessment. In light of this dialogue, it seems like the right...

Student assessment data has many utilities – it helps to describe the effectiveness of a school in terms of moving students forward, it offers great information to help guide the work of teachers and administrators, and it serves as an important early warning system for at-risk kids. How could something...

In a previous post, Teacher Voices blogger Chris Hull talked about how to integrate data from a variety of sources – especially how to incorporate teacher observations with assessment results and other types of data. One of the ways in which he uses that integrated student information is to conduct...

As with any profession, those in education – teachers, administrators, students, and parents – all have important questions that need answers. While the questions begin to broaden with each level you venture away from the classroom, all of them are focused on benefiting students. A balanced set of educational assessments...

Collecting data about students is not new for teachers. Teachers want to use data to support and inform instruction, and technology can help serve a practical purpose in improving the efficiency of this process. Data gathering can and should be in real time, present a holistic view of the student,...

Here at AssessmentLiteracy.org, our goal is to foster a comprehensive understanding of assessment and its role in learning. We want to help educators understand the different uses of assessment and how to apply assessment data to support classroom learning. This is certainly no easy task for teachers, who today are...

Earlier this year, Andrew Miller continued his praise of formative assessment in an Edutopia post – Formative Assessment is Transformational. He discussed grading transformation, where “formative assessment leads to more equitable and fair grading practices.” He touched on teaching transformation, where “working smarter, not harder” is one of the natural...

There are major gaps that exist between how prepared teachers and district administrators are to use assessment data to drive learning, and this undoubtedly needs to change. After all, while district administrators have some say in what tools and curricula are used, it is teachers who are on the front...

When it comes to assessment data, there is a need to distill the information to observe trends and patterns in learning. In fact, this is right where data literacy and assessment literacy come together. Often, assessment data bogs teachers down when they are trying to connect it back to instructional...

Many people, when they think of assessments, think of summative accountability assessments: that is, those state or district-wide standardized tests that measure grade-level proficiency and end-of-year subject or course exams. There are also interim or benchmark exams. Interim assessment may be administered multiple times between instances of summative assessment to...

“This new proposed system of assessment will increase time for learning, emphasize the use of assessment in support of learning, and rely on the most authentic balance of assessments to encourage student success.” – A New Path for Oregon: System of Assessment to Empower Meaningful Student Learning At the behest of the...

Technology and the buzz terms surrounding this topic are flooding education. The teachers and students who are supposed to be helped with each advancement are instead often left overwhelmed. Technology should help teaching at a practical level. Otherwise, technology is being implemented only for technology's sake. When I was a new...

When we talk about “student information,” we are often talking about student data. Data gives us snapshots of how a student is doing in a given area. To acquire student data, we get some snapshots of whatever it is we want to measure, and then compare each student’s snapshots to...

Teachers are well-aware that high-quality assessments are an important part of teaching and learning and that they should be designed to help students know where they are in relation to where they need to go. Students are key decision-makers about their own learning, and it is critical for them to...

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon when addressing his team explained, “The thing I want our guys to understand is the process is fearless. When you want to become outcome-oriented, that's where you can really run into some trouble. If we can just keep our guys focused on the process of...

involves understanding that assessments are designed to provide teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders the information needed to make decisions that will support students on their educational paths. Validity, reliability, fairness, student engagement, and consequential relevance are key traits of high-quality educational assessment, whether large-scale, end-of-year, or classroom-based. Whether you are...

Developing and understanding one’s driving philosophies, or one’s mindset, is the most important element toward achieving great results. My driving philosophy as an educator is to constantly work toward maximizing learning for all my students. One of the key concepts that impacts successful learning is how I frame assessments in my...

How can educators separate fact from fiction in heated public discussion about testing? One of the best, and perhaps most important, tools educators have when it comes to assessment is their voice – communicating assessment results with parents. In fact, a survey of parents, students and educators, sponsored by NWEA and...

In the recently released PDK/Gallup poll of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools, results included a review of American attitudes toward assessment. The poll found that 64% of Americans said that there is too much emphasis on standardized testing in the public schools. The poll also found that Americans...

In our efforts here at AssessmentLiteracy.org to educate people on the need for a balanced assessment approach, one form of assessment often gets overlooked, miss categorized, and/or defined incorrectly. And yet it can be one of the most powerful forms of assessment available to educators, and that’s formative assessment. Assessment in...

When educators are assessment literate, they are informed, reflective, and proactive practitioners. Educators in classrooms actively seek out evidence of student misunderstanding to address during the course of instruction; all educators actively seek out evidence of student needs to inform educational practice and policy. All educators regard both formal and...

Rick Stiggins has been leading the conversation about the importance of assessment literacy and assessment for learning for over two decades. As a champion of this site, we thought it was important to share Rick's vision for a new assessment landscape in education: one that treats students as important stakeholders...

Building assessment literacy is the core focus of this site, but what does assessment literacy really mean? We have asked educators and assessment experts to weigh in on the topic to share their views....