Making Assessment More than an Event: How to Set Up Strong Data Systems for Decision Making and then Follow Through

Ask any student to define assessment, and they’ll say it’s a test they have to take. Ask what happens after the assessment, and the response would be some version of, “They give me a grade.” Teachers might define assessment as a group of tests they administer and spend time preparing students to succeed on. Some interrogate the results of the assessment to understand which concepts students did and did not master. Largely, however, assessments are treated as an event – in that they are a test given at a specific point in time to follow a unit or lesson. Instead, during this webinar, Michael Kennedy from U.VA argues that teachers, administrators, and other school personnel should think about assessment as a process, not an event. When assessments are considered as part of an ongoing process of evaluating the impact of teaching on student learning and performance we deemphasize the result of a one-off test and consider broader contextual factors and data sources. In addition, this approach lends itself to school personnel making data-driven decisions based on a range of data sources and not merely one test (even if it is standardized or norm-referenced).

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