School systems have been burdened by inconsistent standards and understanding of how to use assessments and their data to best support student learning. For teachers, assessment can feel like something imposed on them rather than a tool to support student learning and growth. Districts often claim they are drowning in data but need support in how to use the data to make a difference for students. It isn’t a surprise, then, that schools often struggle to translate assessment results into meaningful information for students, parents, and the community.
In a first of its kind program, educator preparation programs at three Michigan universities are partnering with diverse K12 Michigan school districts to build understanding and communication on assessment. Participants from these organizations will work to create a unified understanding of assessment and how to use it effectively across the education ecosystem, from pre-service teachers, to in-service teachers, to practice. They know when the entire education ecosystem has a shared belief and understanding of assessment, educator preparation efforts on how to use data to support students can be successfully applied.
The project connects three phases of a teacher’s career development, creating a bridge between what they learn in teacher preparation programs, to pre-service practice of applying that learning, and into their career. Further, to address a critical content need in current preparation programs, assessment literacy is the focus. Professional learning will be provided for teacher candidates, their supervising teachers, and other educators at each site, including school and district leaders. Training will establish foundational assessment literacy knowledge, provide opportunities for hands-on practice in use of multiple measures of learning, and develop teacher skills for formative practice.
The Michigan Assessment Literacy Project Team
Our assessments work best in contexts of strong assessment literacy, and they fail us when assessment literacy is lacking. One becomes assessment literate by mastering basic principles of sound assessment practice, coming to believe strongly in their consistent, high-quality application in order to meet the diverse needs of all students, and acting assertively based on those values.