Assessment Literacy is essential for district administrators
Assessment literate district administrators understand how student assessment can empower them to better carry out their role in education, believe that assessment can improve teaching and learning, and put activities and behaviors in place to act on these beliefs.
Assessment Literacy Standards
Download the full set of standards and the companion glossary.
District Administrators who are assessment literate believe:
- All educators must be proficient in their understanding and use of assessment.
- An effective assessment system must balance different purposes for different users and use varied methods of assessment and communication.
- When assessment is done correctly, the resulting data can be used to make sound educational decisions.
- Multiple Measures can provide a more balanced picture of a student or a school.Multiple MeasuresThe use of different types of measures to assess students or programs from somewhat different perspectives in order to obtain a broader picture of students or a program.
- Quality Assessments are a critical attribute of effective teaching and learning.Quality AssessmentA judgment that an assessment is of high quality.
- Assessment results should be used to make Instructional Decisions that impact learning.Instructional DecisionsThe choices made by educators as they teach.
- Clear Learning Targets, understood by students, are necessary for learning and assessment.Learning TargetsThe knowledge and skills students must acquire to master the standards.
- Students should be active partners in their learning and assessment.
- Students can use instructionally sensitive assessment results to improve their learning.
- Users of assessments require time to learn to select, develop, and administer the assessments, as well as use the assessment results appropriately; resources are needed to carry out these activities.
- Good classroom assessment and quality instruction are intricately linked to each other.
- Grading is an exercise in professional judgment, not just a numerical, mechanical exercise.GradingRating an individual or program on the basis of external standards.
- Appropriate, high-Quality Assessment practices should be used in all buildings.Quality AssessmentA judgment that an assessment is of high quality.
District Administrators who are assessment literate know:
- A Balanced Assessment system respects that:
1. Different users have different assessment purposes
2. Different assessment purposes may require different assessment methodsBalanced AssessmentBalanced Assessment is the act of meeting the needs of all assessment users equally well.
- There are different purposes for student assessment:
1. Student Improvement
2. Instructional program improvement
3. Student, teacher, or system Accountability
4. Program Evaluation
5. Prediction of future performance/achievementAccountabilityHolding educators or others responsible for the performance of students, educators, or school programs.PredictionThe use of test results to determine the likelihood of success of an individual in some future activity.Program EvaluationThe use of test results to determine the success of a program and perhaps to suggest improvements to it.Student ImprovementThe use of test results to review past instruction or to alter future instruction provided to the student, due to performance on the test.
- The definitions of and uses for different Types of Assessments:
1. Summative Assessment
2. Interim benchmark assessment
3. Formative Assessment practices
4. Criterion vs. norm-referenced assessment interpretationsFormative AssessmentInformation collected and used by teachers and students during instruction to improve teaching and learning as it is occurring.InterimAn assessment program that is administered periodically to students, such as at the conclusion of each marking period.Summative AssessmentAs assessment of performance, conducted at the conclusion of a course or program completion. Types Of AssessmentDifferent ways of assessing students or programs.
- The differences between the Types of Assessment tools:
4. ScreeningAptitudeA term to describe the ability of an individual to carry out a task or activity. Also indicates the extent to which an individual will be successful in a future activity.Types Of AssessmentDifferent ways of assessing students or programs.
- The different Types of Assessment methods and when educators should use each:
1. Selected response: Multiple-choice, true-false, matching
2. Constructed response: Short or extended written response
3. Performance: Written responses, presentations or products
4. Personal Communication: Observations and InterviewsInterviewsIn this type of assessment, a teacher typically works with an individual student, asks a series of planned and/or unplanned questions, and records students’ responses to the questions.Personal CommunicationAn assessment conducted one-on-one between an adult and a student—sometimes an observation or interview.Types Of AssessmentDifferent ways of assessing students or programs.
- Non-technical, statistical concepts associated with assessment:
1. Measures of central tendency
2. Measures of variability
4. Validity: a characteristic of the use of the assessment, not the assessment itself
6. Correlation vs. CausationBiasThe manner in which a test question is posed that disadvantages some students (due to factors other than their knowledge of the topic being assessed.)CausationThis is a demonstration that one variable has a direct and predictable impact on another variable.CorrelationThis is a demonstration that two variables move in the same or opposite manner, although there is no proof that one causes the other.ReliabilityA determination of the internal consistency, comparability or stability of an assessment. A necessary but not sufficient condition for an assessment to be useful.SensitivityThe use of a topic in an assessment item that some students may find troubling or offensive.ValidityThe collection of evidence to support the intended uses of an assessment. Note: The test itself is not “valid” or “not valid.” It is the uses of the assessment that are or are not valid.
- How to develop or select High Quality Assessments:
1. Determine the purpose for assessment
2. Determine the Standards or Learning Targets to be assessed
3. Select the assessment methods appropriate to Learning Targets and assessment purpose(s)
4. Design a test plan or Blueprint that will permit confident conclusions about achievement
5. Select or construct the necessary assessment Items with Scoring Guides where needed
6. Field Test the Items in advance or review them before Reporting the results
7. Improve the assessment through review and analysis to eliminate Bias and Distortion
8. Assessments can be purchased or developed locally; each approach has advantages and challengesBiasThe manner in which a test question is posed that disadvantages some students (due to factors other than their knowledge of the topic being assessed.)BlueprintA document that describes the key attributes of a new assessment, such as standards to be assessed, the types and numbers of items to be written, and how the results of the assessment will be reported to different audiences. DistortionA factor in the assessment process that does not permit the accurate determination of student performance or that of a school or district.Field TestTrying out of newly-created items in a formal manner on a representative sample of students. GuidesA scoring guide is composed of a rationale for the correct or preferred responses to the assessment. A guide includes one or more scoring rubrics, examples of student responses for each score level of each rubric, and sets of pre-scored student papers used to train, certify, and monitor the scorer. High Quality AssessmentAn assessment externally judged to be of superior quality.ItemAn assessment question, problem, or exercise. The individual measures used in a test.Learning TargetsThe knowledge and skills students must acquire to master the standards. Quality AssessmentA judgment that an assessment is of high quality.ReportingDescribing the performance of a student on an assessment in written or verbal terms.ScoringThe process of determining how well a student did on an assessment.StandardWhat a student must know and be able to do by the end of a course or grade level.
- There are two ways to report results, and specific circumstances when each is useful:
1. Normative interpretations
2. Criterion-referenced interpretations
- The multiple sources of assessment data that validly reflect a teacher’s effectiveness.
District Administrators who are assessment literate:
- Use assessment data within appropriate, ethical, and legal guidelines.
- Understand and communicate Levels of Proficiency accurately.Levels Of ProficiencyThe different levels of performance on an assessment.
- Use assessment results to make appropriate Instructional Decisions for groups of students.Instructional DecisionsThe choices made by educators as they teach.
- Collaboratively analyze data and use data to improve instruction.
- Use multiple sources of data over time to identify trends in learning.
- Use Data Management Systems to access and analyze data.Data Management SystemA computer software system that is used to store educational data and to permit these data to be retrieved and analyzed.
- Communicate effectively with students, parents, other teachers, administrators, and community stakeholders about student learning.
- Seek to increase their knowledge and skills in assessment.
District Administrators who are assessment literate promote a culture of appropriate assessment practice by:
- Promoting assessment literacy for self and staff through:
1. Professional learning communities
2. Targeted and differentiated Professional Development
3. Walk-Throughs (data collection – goal setting)
4. Educator evaluation practices (i.e., program, teacher, and administrator)Professional Development(Targeted and Differentiated) The learning programs and experiences provided to inservice educators to improve their knowledge and skills, and thus, their performance on the job.Walk-ThroughA dry-run of a process or a procedure. Also can mean a school administrator who periodically observesteachersin their classrooms.
- Providing time and support for staff to implement a Balanced Assessment system by providing opportunities to develop skills in:
1. Using Instructionally Embedded Formative Assessment
2. Selecting, creating, and developing assessments
3. Administering assessments
4. Scoring/analyzing results
5. Developing instructional plans based on results
6. Developing school improvement plans based on resultsBalanced AssessmentBalanced Assessment is the act of meeting the needs of all assessment users equally well. Formative AssessmentInformation collected and used by teachers and students during instruction to improve teaching and learning as it is occurring.Instructionally EmbeddedAssessments or activities that occur while instruction is taking place.ScoringThe process of determining how well a student did on an assessment.
- Instituting policies with supportive resources (time and budget) to implement a balanced system of assessment in the district.
- Assuring that each and every staff member is:
1. A confident, competent master themselves of the targets that they are responsible for teaching
2. Sufficiently assessment literate to assess their assigned targets productively in both formative and summative ways.
- Holding building-level staff accountable for implementing High Quality Assessments.High Quality AssessmentAn assessment externally judged to be of superior quality.Quality AssessmentA judgment that an assessment is of high quality.
District Administrators who are assessment literate promote the use of assessment data to improve student learning through the alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment by:
- Developing Learning Progressions to implement the district-wide Standards.Learning ProgressionsA continuum or trajectory of continuous, coherent development that connects knowledge, concepts and skills within a domain. StandardWhat a student must know and be able to do by the end of a course or grade level.
- Assuring Horizontally and Vertically Aligned curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the building.HorizontallyThe alignment of instruction provided by multiple teachers teaching the same content at the same grade or in the same course.Vertically AlignedThe alignment of instruction provided by multiple teachers teaching in the same content area across two or more grades.
- Clearly explaining how to analyze and use assessment results.
- Leading dialogues with staff in interpreting results and creating goals for improvement.
- Assisting teachers in collaboratively analyzing and using data in a Professional Learning Community.Professional Learning CommunitySmall groups of educators who work on a common issue or program over a period of time for the purposes of increasing educator effectiveness and student results.
- Using assessment results, including Subgroup Performance, to influence the district’s curriculum and instructional program.Subgroup PerformanceThe performance of a subset of the students in a larger group, examined to assure that all groups of students in a school are doing well academically.
- Using multiple data sources over time to identify learning trends.
- Using assessment data to reflect on effectiveness of principals’ instructional leadership.
- Incorporating assessment knowledge in evaluation practices (i.e., program, administrator).
- Clearly communicating results to various constituents through a coherent system that uses a variety of methods.
- Using Data Management Systems to access and analyze data.Data Management SystemA computer software system that is used to store educational data and to permit these data to be retrieved and analyzed.