K-12 educators are familiar with the “three-legged stool” of education. The leg of curriculum helps teachers know what to cover. Instruction is the’ how’ of engaging students in the curriculum. The third leg, assessment, helps educators and students know how successful the teaching and learning have been, and what adjustments should be made to move forward.
Assessment itself has sub-categories that teachers, administrators, students and parents can use to achieve different purposes. Formative assessment provides ongoing data to ensure that both teachers and students know where they are, know where they’re going, and can make plans to get there. Interim assessments measure student learning growth; with this data, teachers can identify patterns or trends, possible paths for differentiation, and needs for additional resources. Summative assessment is a culminating assessment (or experience), which measures and reports whether a student, or group of students, has learned a prescribed set of content.
High-quality assessments can and should empower teachers and improve the teaching and learning process. However, to make this vision a reality, certain conditions should be in place:
- The student is at the heart of the assessment—in other words, all assessment should support student learning.
- Assessment is integral to teaching and learning.
- Data is used by both teachers and students to make adjustments in teaching and learning.
- Teachers and students should be provided assessment data in a timely fashion.
- Educators should have the professional development (in the form of time, TLCs, data coaching) to apply assessment results in their classrooms.
Here are 13 resources that can help you, as educators, get the most from assessment data:
1. Advancing Formative Assessment in Every Classroom: A Guide for Instructional Leaders (Book) ASCD
2. Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right-Using It Well (Book) Assessment Training Institute
3. Common Core Learning Tools (Website) Achieve the Core
4. Depth of Knowledge Chart (PDF) Fortheteachers.org
5. Embedded Formative Assessment (Book) Solution Tree Press
6. Formative Assessment: Examples of Practice Study (PDF) Formative Assessment for Teachers and Students State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards of the Council for Chief State School Officers
7. Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment (PDF) National Academies Press
8. Moving Toward a Comprehensive Assessment System: A Framework for Considering Interim Assessments (PDF) Education Measurement: Issues and Practice
9. Moving Toward a Comprehensive Assessment System: A Framework for Considering Interim Assessments (PDF) Education Measurement: Issues and Practice
10. No Child Left Behind (Website) U.S. Department of Education
11. Teachers’ Beliefs About Assessment and Instruction in Literacy (PDF) CRESST/University of Colorado at Boulder
12. The Teacher as Assessment Leader (Book) Solution Tree Press
13. Three Ways Student Data Can Inform Your Teaching (Blog) Edutopia
We hope you find these a helpful and informative set of tools for assessment literacy. As Dylan Wiliam so often says, “Every teacher needs to be getting better – not because they’re not good enough, but because they can be even better – but every teacher needs to be getting better at something that will make a difference to their students…” And that’s what it’s really all about!