From all of us at 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 back often! To celebrate the holidays, we’re sharing our top seven most read blog posts of 2017. Enjoy!

  1. Five Ways to Make Assessment More MeaningfulThere 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 line leading the charge. They are the ones who ultimately must impart the knowledge and learning that drive student growth. So what should we do? As district administrators, as teachers, as policy makers, as parents?
  2. Three Ways to Engage Students in the Assessment ProcessIt’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 strategies, another way to think about student involvement is via the overall assessment process. The more they are involved in this critical aspect of their learning and growth measurement, the better they’ll be better positioned for active classroom participation.
  3. Back to School – What Parents Need to Know (and Ask) About AssessmentParents also play a critical role in the successful transition back to school. While parents think about back to school shopping, getting kids back to a good sleep schedule, getting everyone registered for their classes, and setting up a solid morning schedule for everyone (parents and kids), there’s one important place that can be amplified to really support student success – the dialog between teachers and parents about students and assessments.
  4. The Benefits of a Balanced, Comprehensive Assessment SystemWhen people think of assessments in education, they often do so without thinking holistically. They think of an end-of-year summative assessment (a final exam or a state test). Or, perhaps they think of interim assessment given at different intervals through the year to measure growth. Teachers might focus on formative assessment tools and practices that help them understand in the moment how well their students are grasping the information. But in reality all assessments in education play an important role in illuminating student understanding and performance.
  5. Establishing Success Criteria in the Classroom – What You Need to KnowIf you’re a practitioner of formative assessment, then you know that one of the foundations of smart practice is establishing success criteria in the classroom. Students must understand what they are expected to learn before they can take responsibility for their own learning. In many instances, students have incorrect conceptions of what they are learning, why they are learning it, and what quality work looks like. As teachers we have different ideas about both learning targets and success criteria. We sometimes struggle as we write learning targets to get clarity on what is content, context or activity. Some of that holds true with success criteria, as well.
  6. Implementing Assessment Literacy – What Can Principals Do?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.
  7. What Do You Need to Know About the 3 Main Types of Assessments?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 time for a quick refresher on the different types and purposes of assessment.

Have a safe holiday season and be sure to read all of our great blog posts!