Research & Development

Designing Balanced Assessment Systems

Assessment tools and products abound, but district leaders need support in how to build a coherent and comprehensive system that can lead to improved student learning.

Our research is helping to inform this important area of school leadership, shaping the development of new resources for educators and policy makers.


Current Research and Development Topics

Assessment Learning Institute

In our third year, we look forward to equipping a group of Michigan educators to use resources MAC has developed to increase assessment capable practice. The Institute, typically held in August, is designed to promote assessment literacy among local and intermediate school district staff and to improve the quality and effectiveness of local assessment systems.

This work builds on a proof-of-concept pilot undertaken in 2017-18 using the District Assessment System Design Toolkit (DASD) and an associated process (developed by the Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment—NCIEA) in selected Michigan districts.

We were pleased to pilot the use of newly developed facilitator guides designed to support the use of our Assessment Learning Modules for local and ISD blended-learning models in 2019. In 2020 we expanded materials to draw from MAC publications such as Learning Points. In 2021 we anticipate using a series of Learning Maps designed to focus on balanced assessment practice and systems.

District Assessment System Design Pilot

The District Assessment System Design Toolkit (DASD), developed by the Center for Assessment, was used to guide a process of designing a district assessment system or evaluating and improving an existing one.

We identified potential school districts (coordinated by their ISDs), provided facilitators, experienced the facilitated process, and communicated feedback on how the process and the Toolkit could be enhanced.

Smarter FAME Project

In 2020-21 we embarked on a collaboration with the Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators (FAME) program to develop a set of instructional materials in the form of MAC-developed Learning Maps and supported with a cadre of Smarter FAME facilitators who will field test professional learning materials, facilitated support, and quality example materials designed to increase knowledge, skills and effectiveness in :

  • implementing the formative assessment process in classroom instruction.
  • integrating and using classroom summative assessments within a classroom as part of a balanced assessment system.
  • integrating and using Interim/Benchmark assessments within a classroom setting as part of a balanced assessment system.

The SBAC Interim Assessments and instructional platform Tools for Teachers will provide example material to use in training. The FAME program is the professional learning model ready to take classroom teachers a next step in 2022-23.

Quick Links

FAME Program

To learn more about the MAC’s Research and Development work, contact Ed Roeber at (517) 816-4520.

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Our resource bank contains additional materials and resources to support educators in the effective use of assessment.

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