One expert helps state educators connect the dots between curriculum, instruction and assessment. Teachers are constantly coached in the area of instructional strategies, but how often are they aided in the creation of student assessments? In an effort to align state standards with assessment, theJul 30, 2015
One expert helps state educators connect the dots between curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Teachers are constantly coached in the area of instructional strategies, but how often are they aided in the creation of student assessments? In an effort to align state standards with assessment, the Arizona K12 Center recruited Leslie Grant, Ph.D., to help K-12 state educators connect the dots between curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Currently, Dr. Grant is an assistant professor for the College of William & Mary School of Education. Having spent a quarter of a century in education, the Virginia resident has dedicated the most recent years of her life to helping others create valid and reliable assessments to facilitate and communicate student learning.
Stacey Hicks, National Board Certified Teacher, is the Arizona K12 Center’s Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Project Director. As a former teacher, she said professional learning opportunities in relation to assessment literacy are crucial.
“In recent years, we have seen an increased public outcry for high-stakes assessments and accountability of teachers and the education that our students are receiving. Many teachers have experienced this testing pressure, engaged in professional development that raised awareness of the difference of summative and formative assessments. Then, they were asked to fold their understanding of assessment into the new shift of professional learning communities (PLCs). Teachers were left wondering if the assessments they were creating in their PLCs were valid and sound, questioning the impact on their students,” Hicks explains.
Cue the pairing of Dr. Grant’s expertise with the opportunity for Arizona educators to learn during three two-day sessions and through the series called Assessment Literacy: Strengthening Teacher-Made Assessments to Improve Student Learning.
“We spend a lot of time planning and receive training about lessons and effective instructional strategies, but the area we, broadly speaking, have received the least training in is assessments and how to go about creating them,” says Dr. Grant, who was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). “We make instructional decisions all the time, but we need to make sure our assessments provide us solid information upon which we can make these decisions.”
Gone are the days of pulling together questions for the sake of giving a test or quiz. Instead, teacher-made assessments serve as the teachers’ classroom compass, by which the days, weeks and months are navigated.
“Engaging in the assessment literacy training is really about building skills and capacity for implementation in the classroom. Folks who come to the workshop will learn a process, which will help them look at what strategies they’re currently using in their own classrooms, and then review them for alignment to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. Attendees will learn best practices in assessment, be they teacher-made or performance-based tests. The training is intentionally broken down into three two-day segments so they can learn the process and have the opportunity to implement it in the classroom between sessions so that we can review as a group,” Dr. Grant says.
The longtime educator’s understanding encompasses many perspectives, including that of a student, teacher, professor, and parent.
“We do so much in education that’s not captured in our standards,” says the mother of 16-year-old boy. “Educating the whole child is the mission of ASCD. We have to look at what we’re valuing and how it will move students toward college and career readiness. But, we also think about integrity and character. Even though my area is assessment and I advocate for it, there’s so much that would be difficult to measure, and teachers do so much more to develop their students.”
Those that choose to attend the assessment literacy training at the Arizona K12 Center should expect to acquire new skills, while also receiving direct support and feedback. Dr. Grant encourages school teams to attend, so the learning extends past the three two-day sessions, within their communities.
Find more information or register for Assessment Literacy: Strengthening Teacher-Made Assessments to Improve Student Learning here.