New book co-edited by NWEA expert examines best practices in assessment

NWEA’s Dr. Beth Tarasawa, along with colleagues at Bellwether Education Partners and Michigan State University, explore assessment practices that promote equity and student learning.

Portland, Ore. – Sept. 30, 2020 – Dr. Beth Tarasawa, Executive Vice President of Research at NWEA, is the co-editor of a new book released this month that is focused on practical uses of assessment in education. Titled, Assessment Education: Bridging Research, Theory, and Practice to Promote Equity and Student Learning, the book published by Rowman & Littlefield is widely applicable for teachers and administrators who are looking for resources and strategies for data-informed instruction that balances the use of assessment to address opportunity gaps, a critical element now more than ever as schools face the challenge of education in the era of COVID.

The impetus for the book came from a Principal Leadership article, “Seven successful strategies for literate assessment” (Tarasawa, Gotwals, and Jackson 2018). This piece argues that education leaders’ knowledge and skills in relation to assessment, such as incorporating professional development, use of assessment data in classroom planning, and nurturing professional collaboration on matters of student achievement and instruction, are of fundamental importance for building assessment use among all educators. The book takes this a step further by equipping readers with research-driven approaches to assessment. Ultimately, shifting the focus away from the rhetoric of punitive testing back to how quality assessments can produce accurate and timely information to maximize student learning.

Along with Dr. Tarasawa, the book was co-edited by Dr. Cara Jackson of Bellwether Education Partners and Dr. Amelia Wenk Gotwals of the College of Education at Michigan State University and includes a foreword from renowned classroom assessment expert Dr. Rick Stiggins. All three served as part of the National Taskforce on Assessment Education, which focused on fostering national dialogue about appropriate uses of assessment and addressing critical gaps in assessment education.

“We have the opportunity to reclaim data and empower educators to make critical evidence-informed COVID recovery decisions in their classrooms,” said Beth Tarasawa. “The book’s release is particularly timely as we consider how teachers work to support all students – regardless of where they start academically, and regardless if they are working with students in person or remotely.”

About Dr. Beth Tarasawa

As executive vice president of research at NWEA, Beth Tarasawa leads a talented team of researchers devoted to transforming education research through advancements in assessment, growth measurement, and the availability of longitudinal data. She also collaborates with universities, foundations, and school districts to produce rigorous and accessible education policy research. Dr. Tarasawa’s research focuses on issues related to educational equity, particularly those concerning social class, race, and linguistic diversity. She completed a PhD in sociology of education with a concentration in education policy at Emory University.

About NWEA

NWEA® is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction. Educators in more than 10,000 schools, districts, and education agencies in 146 countries rely on our flagship interim assessment, MAP® Growth™; our progress monitoring and skills mastery tool, MAP® Skills™; our reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™; our personalized learning tool powered by Khan Academy, MAP® Accelerator™; and our new assessment solution that combines growth and proficiency measurement. Visit to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.


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