A teacher’s core mission is to help each child thrive. To best serve a classroom full of unique needs, teachers need to understand the extent of each student’s knowledge and progress. Knowing which assessments already work in real classrooms would help more teachers reach this understanding.
Twenty-five states are implementing policies that include measures of student growth as one component of a teacher’s evaluation. Yet neither teachers nor policymakers have a clear way of figuring out which assessments can help them best identify their students’ strengths and weaknesses – especially for the 69 percent of teachers who teach grades and subjects that aren’t covered by state standardized tests.
In the summer of 2011, a group of teachers from urban school districts across the country got together to help solve this conundrum. We have clear views (ask us!) about what it would take to design the ideal assessments in each of our subjects from scratch. But we are teaching right now – and as teacher evaluation systems roll out, we know there is no time to wait.
Our premise is this: There are hundreds of assessments being used in schools and districts across the country. Some are pretty darn good, and some are…not. Teachers and students have a lot to gain if we can find out from real teachers which existing assessments work in real classrooms. Policymakers shouldn’t have to guess – and then learn through trial and lots of error. And teachers should have a resource for finding assessments that will help them teach right now.
Thus, Assessment Advisor was born. With the support of Teach Plus, we have created a website that allows teachers to rate the assessments that they have used with their students.
If you are a teacher, we hope you will share your wisdom. Which tests work, and which don’t? How have you used these assessments to inform your teaching? If you are a policymaker, this feedback is a powerful guide. A tool for success is in your hands.
Susan G. Harris, Manassas High School, Memphis City Schools
Marta Magnus, Dr. An Wang Middle School, Lowell Public Schools
Amy McSpadden, Coleman Elementary School, Memphis City Schools
Laura Meili, Mollison Elementary, Chicago Public Schools
Kristi Oliver, Marlborough High School, Marlborough Public Schools
Alex Seeskin, Lake View High School, Chicago Public Schools
Meredith Smith, Southwest Preparatory Academy, Memphis City Schools
Cassandra S. Spearman, Hanley Elementary School, Memphis City Schools
Jen Wood-Bowien, Middle College High School, Memphis City Schools
Sarah Zuckerman, Key Learning Community, Indianapolis Public Schools
Do you have questions or ideas for Assessment Advisor? Would you like to partner with Assessment Advisor to use this tool in your school or district? Are you a member of the media who would like to talk with the founding teachers? Contact us via the form below. We welcome your input!
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