Building a Better Assessment Future

Exploring Timeless and Innovative Solutions


Why Build a Better Assessment Future?

More than at any other time in recent history, educators and policymakers recognize the need to provide an education system that supports all children to achieve at high levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequities in our system and presents an opportunity to aspire to adopt assessment approaches and systems that truly serve to support all children to achieve and become capable learners.

This virtual conference aims to support district teams as they re-imagine their district’s assessment system in a way that elevates assessment purpose and use and propels student learning. This “must-participate” event will feature keynote addresses and workshops where  teams of educators and national and international experts come together to discuss issues and inspire actions to build a better assessment future—envisioned as one that elevates assessment in support of ambitious teaching of rigorous content standards and emphasizes higher levels of student learning.

The conference, hosted by the Michigan Assessment Consortium in partnership with FAME (Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators) and Oakland Schools aims to assist local districts to improve their instructional programs so that all students equally succeed at high levels and gaps between sub-groups are addressed and, eventually, eliminated. 

We welcome a respected team of state, national, and international assessment experts, including:

  • Susan Brookhart
  • Jan Chappuis
  • Margaret Heritage
  • Ken O’Connor
  • Jim Pellegrino,
  • Rick Stiggins, and
  • Many Michigan assessment leaders!

Who should attend?  All educators will be inspired and enriched by the content presented. Participants who attend as district or building teams (3 or more members) will benefit from dedicated team times and reflection tools. Teams should include stakeholders who are looking to implement solutions to assessment challenges and seek new opportunities to improve student learning through assessment. While participants are encouraged to attend with a team, individual educators are welcome to attend, and special opportunities for reflection have been planned for your benefit.

Role of the Attendee: Participants should commit to expand their own assessment knowledge and work with their colleagues to elevate their practice and create quality assessment systems.

Topics to be covered: 

  • Finding out what students know and where they are poised to grow 
  • Supporting teachers in using multiple ways of assessing students 
  • Understanding that the formative assessment process is the “engine of learning” 
  • Using grading practices that support learning 
  • Assessment practices that motivate learners 
  • Focusing assessment on what matters most 
  • And more —full conference program will be available soon 

Virtual conference features:

  • Large-group “TED talk-type” sessions with state, national, and international assessment experts
  • Topical breakout sessions led by education practitioners
  • Opportunities for teams to consult with one or more assessment experts, and
  • Embedded work and reflection times for teams to support emerging work plans

Day 1 – Keynote addresses by assessment experts

Day 2 – Keynote addresses and smaller breakout session of classroom and district assessment-related topics

Day 3 – Keynote addresses and smaller breakout sessions on issues of equity and state assessment-related topics

Outcomes: Participants will work and explore as part of a learning team to:

  • Assist local districts to improve their instructional programs to spur higher student achievement and eliminate gaps
  • Understand the keys to quality assessment that support students’ equitable access to learning
  • Appreciate the role assessment plays in all facets of student learning
  • Envision an assessment system that accurately serves the information needs of students, parents, educators and policy makers
  • Raise awareness of what it means to be assessment literate
  • Identify strategies for advancing an assessment system that serves the information needs of multiple audiences

Presenter: Susan Brookhart

Susan M. Brookhart is Professor Emerita in the School of Education at Duquesne University and an independent educational consultant and author based in Los Angeles, CA. Her research interests include the role of both formative and summative classroom assessment in student motivation and achievement, the connection between classroom assessment and large-scale assessment, and grading. Dr. Brookhart was the 2007-2009 Editor of Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, and is currently an Associate Editor of Applied Measurement in Education. She is author or co-author of seventeen books and over 70 articles and book chapters on classroom assessment, teacher professional development, and evaluation.

Presenter: Jan Chappuis

Educator and author Jan Chappuis has a career background in elementary and secondary teaching and has served as a curriculum developer in English/language arts, mathematics, social studies, and world languages. She currently works with Rick Stiggins and Steve Chappuis at Pearson Assessment Training Institute in Portland, Oregon. For the past 20 years, she has written books and developed workshops focused on classroom assessment literacy. A nationally recognized expert and thought leader in the area of formative assessment, Jan has presented both nationally and internationally and is best known for her work in translating research into practical classroom applications.

Presenter: Margaret Heritage

Margaret Heritage is an internationally recognized expert in formative assessment. Currently, she is an independent consultant in education and a senior advisor to WestEd. She spent 22 years at UCLA, first as principal of the laboratory school of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and then as an Assistant Director at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing. Before joining UCLA, Margaret worked for many years in schools in the United Kingdom and the United States. Her work is published in peer- reviewed journals, edited books and practitioner journals. Her most recent books are Formative Assessment in the Disciplines (Harvard Press) with Carolyn Wiley; Using Assessment to Enhance Learning, Achievement, and Academic Self-Regulation (Routledge) with Heidi Andrade; and Self-Regulation in Learning: The Role of Language and Formative Assessment(Harvard Education Press) with Alison Bailey.

Presenter: Ken O'Connor

Ken O'Connor is a prolific author, whose most recent book, How to Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards (4th Ed., Corwin) is the featured book for the 2020-21 MAC Reads Book Study. Ken has been an independent consultant from 1996 to the present. His most recent book, He has been a staff development presenter and facilitator on assessment, grading and reporting in 47 states and 9 Canadian provinces and one territory and 25 countries outside North America. He is a popular presenter at conferences in Canada, the U.S.A., and around the globe. He was a member of the ASCD Faculty and the ASCD Understanding by Design cadre. He is a founding member of the Canadian Assessment for Learning Network.

Presenter: Jim Pellegrino

James Pellegrino has helped shape how students learn in the 21st century. For more than 30 years, he has produced influential research connected to issues of student learning, instruction and assessment. He applies a unique blend of expertise — combining knowledge of cognitive science, assessment, educational technology, instructional practice and educational policy — to design and deliver new, improved and equitable learning environments. His goal is to better understand the nature of students’ knowledge in specific disciplines and the conditions that enhance deep understanding. His current research is focused on assessment of student learning in multiple areas of mathematics and science that span kindergarten through college. Throughout his career, he has lead large-scale research and development projects for the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences and the Office of Naval Research. He was the principal investigator for a NSF grant to the College Board to redesign and improve the Advanced Placement science courses and assessments.

Presenter: Rick Stiggins

Rick Stiggins is founder and retired president of the Assessment Training Institute in Portland, Oregon. Since 1992, the Institute’s professional learning programs have helped teachers, school leaders and policy makers understand how to use the assessment process and its results to benefit (not merely monitor) student learning. These programs focus on the use of student-involved assessment as they are learning to maximize their confidence, motivation and learning. The flagship program, An Introduction to Student-involved Classroom Assessment FOR Learning (Pearson), has helped half a million teachers across the country and around the world become more competent, confident classroom assessors.

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