Assessment Education Perspectives

Dee Fabry – Task Force Member Spotlight

Task Force Member Spotlight – Dee Fabry

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 that can be put into practice by colleges of education and school districts.

Our Task Force Member Spotlight series recently focused on Scott Reed, and in this post we’ll highlight Dee Fabry. Dee currently serves as the Program Director of the new Masters of Science in Advanced Teaching Practices graduate degree in the Teacher Education Department, School of Education (SOE), National University, La Jolla, CA. She is the SOE Assessment Coordinator, serves on the SOE Accreditation Committee, and the University Academic Assessment Committee. She has served as the Interim Associate Provost, NCATE Steering Committee Standard 2 Co-Chair, TED Department Co-Chair, and Program Lead for the Master of Arts in Teaching program, as well as numerous other university committees and task forces.

As Vice President of Assessment Programs for Lightspan, Inc., and Plato Learning, Dee provided leadership for the test development team creating criterion-referenced, online assessments aligned to state standards for grades 2 – 8. At Kaplan Learning in New York, she served as the Project Manager for Test Development for a virtual team that designed and developed criterion-referenced, print-based tests aligned to state standards.

Dee has taught pre-school, Grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 in public education in West Virginia and Colorado. She is a Reading Specialist and created a project-based reading program for at-risk seventh grade learners. She and a colleague published a book detailing the curriculum called Opening Doors to Reading. She received a Presidential Scholar Award to revise the book, updating the digital activities and tools and aligning the content to the Common Core State Standards.

Why did you agree to join the Task Force?

The need for assessment-literate teachers is at a critical point in public education. As a practicing educator in higher education, I feel strongly that we must provide teachers with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to successfully implement a balanced approach to assessment. It is past time to move on from the over-testing atmosphere prevalent during the No Child Left Behind legislation years. I am excited to participate in and to contribute to the very much-needed dialogue concerning assessment literacy for all educators from Pre-K through higher education. (In fact, I wrote about this topic recently over at the Teach Learn Grow blog.) We are very hopeful the new Legislation, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), will provide support for classroom teachers in implementing formative assessment. Since the potential for impacting teaching and learning using the many tools and strategies of assessment FOR learning is so strong, it is critical that these initiatives are funded.

How might you use your learning and time with the Task Force to impact your current work over the next 12 months?

National University is the second-largest private, not-for-profit university in California. National University recommends more teachers for credentials than any other single institution in California and holds more K-12 teacher training contracts with elementary and secondary school districts than any other university in the state.

Given this responsibility for teacher education, the timing of my involvement with the Task Force coincides with the current curriculum transformation initiative in the Teacher Education Department. We completed an analysis of all programs, from Initial through Advanced, to determine the currency and relevancy of all content and our faculty in alignment with CAEP-supported InTASC Standards, ISTE Standards, National Board Core Propositions, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Standards, and Common Core State Standards. Our goal is to provide both our faculty and our candidates, pre- and in-service teachers, with the 21st century skills they need in order to positively impact student learning. Assessment literacy is key in revising and developing new curricula.

The new Masters of Science in Advanced Teaching Practices is a result of the analysis. Scheduled to launch in November 2016, this practitioner-focused program provides classroom teachers with options for in-depth study. One of the new offerings is the Assessment Literacy Specialization. Collaborating with Dr. Rick Stiggins, we created this four-course sequence to provide teachers not only with theoretical knowledge, but also with time for reflection, practice, implementation, and application of assessment literacy skills. As far as we know, it is the only assessment literacy specialization currently offered at a university in the nation.

Have you had success in improving assessment education for teachers, either pre- or in-Service, in your work? If yes, please tell us a bit about the work and the results.

Assessment at National University is a system-wide process. Each program completes an annual Program Review that includes the Key Signature Assignments and Assessments. Ongoing improvement in programs down to the granular level of assignments is a key component of our assessment process. We include instruction on formative and summative assessment in our courses.

We look forward to reviewing the data we gather from the new Assessment Literacy Specialization. It will help us to determine how our candidates are using formative assessment to impact their own teaching and their students’ learning.

Check back soon for our next Task Force Member Spotlight blog.