Assessment Literacy is essential for teachers
Assessment literate teachers 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.
Teachers 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 to improve student 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.
- Effective Feedback is critical to support learning.FeedbackInformation about performance provided by another person or an instrument.
- Students should be active partners in learning how to use assessment results to improve their learning.
- Students can use instructionally sensitive assessment results to improve their learning.
- 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.
Teachers 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.
- Student assessment addresses a variety of purposes:
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 interpretationsInterimAn 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 best matched to Learning Targets:
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.Learning TargetsThe knowledge and skills students must acquire to master the standards. 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 assessing
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 and Scoring tools 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. 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 different ways to report results:
1. Normative interpretations
2. Criterion-referenced interpretations
- The multiple sources of assessment data that validly reflect a teacher's effectiveness.
- How to translate Standards into clear Learning Targets that are written in Student-friendly Language.Learning TargetsThe knowledge and skills students must acquire to master the standards. StandardWhat a student must know and be able to do by the end of a course or grade level. Student-friendly LanguageWriting of some educational language in a jargon-free manner understandable by students.
- Assessment accommodations are available and when to use them with students with disabilities and English Language Learners.
- How to provide effective Feedback from assessments suitable for different audiences: descriptive versus evaluative.FeedbackInformation about performance provided by another person or an instrument.
- How to use and create Scoring tools (Guides, Rubrics, checklists, Scoring rules, Standards)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. RubricsA rubric identifies a coherent set of criteria for student work that includes expectations for performance at varying levels of quality. 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.
- Sound Grading and Reporting practicesGradingRating an individual or program on the basis of external standards.ReportingDescribing the performance of a student on an assessment in written or verbal terms.
- How to engage students in using their own assessment results for reflection and goal setting
Teachers who are assessment literate:
- Self-assess their work and Model this for students.ModeThe most frequently occurring score in a set of scores.
- Select and use various assessment methods appropriate to assessment purposes and Learning Targets.Learning TargetsThe knowledge and skills students must acquire to master the standards.
- Use Learning Targets aligned to the Standards and understood by students to guide instruction.Learning TargetsThe knowledge and skills students must acquire to master the standards. StandardWhat a student must know and be able to do by the end of a course or grade level.
- Use Learning Progressions to guide instruction and assessment. Learning ProgressionsA continuum or trajectory of continuous, coherent development that connects knowledge, concepts and skills within a domain.
- Implement the 5-step process for assessment development:
1. Plan the assessment
2. Develop the assessment Items
3. Review and critique the assessment Items
4. Field Test the Items to see if they work
5. Review and revise ItemsField TestTrying out of newly-created items in a formal manner on a representative sample of students. ItemAn assessment question, problem, or exercise. The individual measures used in a test.
- Use assessment data within appropriate, ethical, and legal guidelines.
- Use a variety of Protocols for looking at and Scoring student work.ProtocolsProtocols are an agreed upon set of guidelines for conversation; a code of behavior for groups to use when exploring ideas.ScoringThe process of determining how well a student did on an assessment.
- Accurately determine and communicate Levels of Proficiency.Levels Of ProficiencyThe different levels of performance on an assessment.
- Use assessment results to make appropriate Instructional Decisions for individual students and groups of students.Instructional DecisionsThe choices made by educators as they teach.
- Provide timely, descriptive, and actionable Feedback to students based on assessment results.FeedbackInformation about performance provided by another person or an instrument.
- Support student use of assessment Feedback to improve attitudes, aspirations, mindsets, and achievementFeedbackInformation about performance provided by another person or an instrument.
- Use Grading practices that result in grades that are accurate, consistent, Meaningful, and supportive of learning.GradingRating an individual or program on the basis of external standards.MeanThe arithmetic average of a set of data, calculated by adding up all the scores and dividing by the number of scores.
- Use assessment results appropriately to modify instruction to improve student achievement.
- 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 about student learning with students, parents/guardians, other teachers, administrators, and community stakeholders.
- Seek to increase their knowledge and skills in assessment.
Teachers who are assessment literate promote the use of assessment data to improve student learning through the alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment by:
- Implementing district-developed Learning Progressions.Learning ProgressionsA continuum or trajectory of continuous, coherent development that connects knowledge, concepts and skills within a domain.
- Clearly explaining how to analyze and use assessment results.
- Using assessment results, including Subgroup Performance, to influence the classroom’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 sources of data over time to identify trends in learning.
- Using assessment results to reflect on their own effectiveness.