Assessment to Support Student Learning

Across the nation, teachers, students, parents and many others are debating the role assessment plays in education. High-stakes, standardized tests have become the norm for making a myriad educational decisions from school quality to student promotion.

But as many educators and others will tell you, these high-stakes test offer only a small glimpse into what students truly know and can do. It’s classroom assessments, developed by teachers for students and used by teachers and students, that have the most power to support meaningful learning.

Oregon leaders and David Douglas want to change the balance of the assessment system so teachers and students have the tools they need to support learning in classrooms each and every day, and stop the cycle of using annual tests to inform instructional decisions.

“Assessment for learning is a gift we give our students. It is a mirror we hold up to show them how far they have come. It is a promise that we will use assessment, not to punish or reward, but to guide them on their learning journey.” — Jan Chappuis (2009)

Supporting Assessment Literacy in David Douglas

David Douglas teachers have expressed a clear desire for increased professional learning for classroom assessments. In the Oregon TELL survey, 49% of DDSD teachers reported a need for professional learning in assessment literacy. Additionally, teachers’ self-assessment on the DDSD Teacher Performance Standards rank Standard 1f: Designing Student Assessments, as one of the top five professional learning needs.

It’s not surprising this is the case. We use classroom assessments to set Student Learning and Growth Goals, to prepare students for annual testing, and to confer grades or determine proficiency in the Common Core State Standards.

“Classroom assessment literacy is defined as having the knowledge and skills to gather accurate information about student achievement and use assessments and their results effectively to improve achievement.” — Rick Stiggins (Classroom Assessment for Student Learning)

With classroom assessments playing such a pivotal role in instruction in today’s classroom, it’s vital for all teachers, principals and leaders to become assessment literate. The Educator Effectiveness Leadership Team examined teacher input, researched best practices, and considered current trends in education and has proposed a teacher leadership opportunity to increase classroom assessment literacy for David Douglas teachers.

Teacher Leadership Opportunities

To increase assessment literacy, DDSD is building a Classroom Assessment for Student Learning (CASL) Cadre. This work is based in the Assessment Training Institute here in Portland, Ore., and the work of Rick Stiggins, author of “Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing it Right, Using it Well,” and founder of the institute.

Cadre members will take part in a two-day training titled “Leading Professional Development in Classroom Assessment for Student Learning.” Over the course of the two day sessions, CASL Cadre members will begin the journey of becoming classroom assessment literacy experts, resources for their buildings and peers, and leaders in delivering and supporting professional learning in their buildings.

In the 2015-16 school year, CASL Cadre members along with their principals and school leaders and with support from the Educator Effectiveness Team, will thoughtfully consider how best to support classroom assessment literacy in their schools.

The Five Keys

“Classroom Assessment for Student Learning” identifies the Five Keys to Quality Assessment:

  1. Clear Purpose
  2. Clear Targets
  3. Sound Design
  4. Effective Communication
  5. Student Involvement.

Through these five keys, teachers will build a solid foundation of how a balance of classroom formative and summative assessments can support students learning and help them to realize their full potential; provide important information to students, parents, and teachers; and inform instructional goal setting.

For more information about how CASL Cadre members will support professional learning in your building, contact your principal or any member of the Grant Manager team.

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