HOW TO GUIDE TEACHERS IN THE CREATION OF HIGH QUALITY AND RIGOROUS ASSESSMENTS OF STUDENT LEARNING AND GROWTH
Assessing student knowledge and growth is a significant component of a classroom teacher’s daily routine. In fact, classroom teachers typically spend from one third to one half of their time engaged in assessment-related activities (Stiggins et al., 1992). In addition to normal classroom assessment practices, many teachers in the state of Ohio (United States) are now being asked to either select appropriate vendor created assessments or develop rigorous, high quality measures to assess one year of student growth as part of the new Ohio Teachers Evaluation System (OTES) (ODE, 2012). While selecting a vendor assessment may be the easier option for these teachers, vendor assessments are typically expensive and may not validly assess what is being taught in the classroom leading to a possible disconnect between actual student learning and assessment results. Therefore, many Ohio schools or districts have opted to instead develop local education agency (LEA) measures as a way of empowering teachers in their own evaluation process and ensuring assessments are well aligned with classroom instruction and, in turn, provide for meaningful use of test results to make decisions in regards to teaching and student learning.
Our team ardently supports the idea of having groups of similar content and grade level teachers develop standardized pre-post assessments to demonstrate student academic growth. However, our experiences working with classroom teachers and research on assessment literacy suggest that most teachers do not believe they have the skills needed to develop their own high quality assessments or evaluate pre-made assessments for their own classroom needs (Brookhart, 2001; Mertler & Campbell, 2005). One reason we believe this may be is because most universities do not provide specific courses in assessment at the undergraduate. Rather, assessment concepts are often integrated throughout or touched upon in multiple teacher training program courses (Campbell, Murphy, & Holt, 2002).
In our presentation, we will explain the process we have undertaken with more than 2,000 teachers for creating high quality and rigorous teacher developed assessments of student learning and growth. We will also share teacher participant perceptions of training survey results (which were highly positive). Additionally, we will provide practical recommendations for anyone interested in learning to develop and assess their students’ learning and growth in a more reliable and valid fashion.