Balanced Assessment Systems

What does balance mean in the context of assessment practice and assessment systems?

Assessment of learning and assessment for learning are ‘balanced’ in our practice and systems. All users of assessment information get the accurate information they need to make decisions and one group’s needs do not overshadow the needs of the other users of information (most importantly students). Assessment of learning should provide an accurate depiction of student achievement and be used to benefit students. Large-scale, summative assessments of learning should detect any improvements in the level or rate of student achievement.

These measures provide information once a year, or in the case of interim benchmarks two-three times per year they meet specific and limited purposes. They can reflect large-group increases or decreases in learning on an annual basis, and they tend to be used for high-stakes decisions.

Assessment for learning informs the moment-to-moment, daily and weekly instructional decisions students and their teachers make in order to support and advance learning.

A Learning Moment Video

Susan Brookhart explains what is meant by a balanced assessment system.

We’ve assembled more resources for this topic below.

Assessment Crisis: The Absence of Assessment for Learning

This resource describes the impact of the absence of formative assessment in many classrooms.

Creating Effective Statewide Student Assessment Systems

This paper provides an overview of how effective state assessment systems can be created.

DASD Toolkit: The District Assessment Design Toolkit 

The District Assessment Design Toolkit is a resource developed for local districts by the Center for Assessment. (Senior Associate, Joseph Martineau.) MAC has piloted the toolkit to support facilitation of use. Scroll down to DASD Toolkit on the NCEIA.org Resources page to access the toolkit

Developing Michigan Into a Top 10 Education Performing State Over the Next Ten Years

This paper describes MAC’s recommendations for the role of assessment to move Michigan into a Top 10 education performing state.

MAC Reads! Book Study Process Guide: Revolutionize Assessment 

The webinar articulates the if – then arguments that explain in lay terms the psychology of assessment for learning. The process guide supports group reading and study for the book Revolutionize Assessment.

The Role of Interim Assessments in a Comprehensive Assessment System

This paper describes how interim assessments can add value to a comprehensive assessment system.

Three Cs of a Balanced Assessment System

Tool organized by criteria and indicators to assist with self-survey about the district assessment system.

Using Assessment Information to Make Sound Decisions (MAC videoconference– Carol Commodore)

This MAC produced video conference featuring Carol Commodore, co-author of Balanced Assessment Systems, Leadership, Quality and the Role of Classroom Assessment highlights the seven actions needed to achieve a balanced district assessment system.

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