- Balancing new assessment systems within a state
- Transitioning curriculum and instruction
The assessment literacy of teachers and school administrators is an essential element of school improvement activity. Yet, many educators lack an understanding of how classroom assessment, especially formative assessment, can lead to improved student achievement and motivation. For states to address this issue, they must provide statewide professional development for their in-service educators.
Two states that have tackled how to provide opportunities for educators to learn and use these critical skills will present their strategies for doing so. The two states demonstrate two different approaches to statewide professional development on learning to use formative-assessment strategies in their states’ classrooms. This session will describe what formative assessment is (and is not), overview the CCSSO SCASS Formative Assessment for Students and Teachers’ (FAST) work in this area, describe activities of two leading states (Michigan and North Caroline), and discuss the ramifications of this work for pre-service teacher preparation programs to help prospective teachers learn about formative-assessment practices.
- Overview of the Formative-Assessment Process (Margaret Heritage, UCLA/CRESST) – The first presenter will provide the theoretical underpinnings of work on formative classroom assessment. She will discuss the SCASS FAST definition of formative-assessment practices, and summarize the activities of the SCASS group to promote common understanding in this area. This will serve as a lead in to the work of the two states. The presentation will cover how formative-assessment practices can help teachers assure that students are learning what they are teaching and guide student understanding of their own learning,
- Formative-Assessment Professional Development Via Learning Teams (Kim Young, Michigan Department of Education) – The second presenter will review five years of work onformative-assessment professional development. This state has developed a coaching and learning team model, investing in work to support volunteer coaches as they facilitate the work of learning teams comprised of classroom teachers and administrators. The presentation will describe how the program may grow to affect more educators in the state, and conclude with a summary of key research data that has been collected by MSU on the impact of formative assessment professional development on educators and students in the state.
- Formative-Assessment Professional Development Via an Online Learning Community (Sarah McManus, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction) – The third presenter will provide an overview North Carolina’s professional development materials related to formative-assessment practices. This state has invested substantially in an online learning community and in a wide variety of professional development resources related to formative-assessment practices. These resources are made available to educators to help them individually and in small groups learn to incorporate formative-assessment strategies in their on-going instruction. The presentation will describe how the program was developed and continued to grow to impact educators and their students.
- Discussion (Edward Roeber, WCER/WIDA) – The discussant will describe the implications of these models for state-level professional development, as well as serving as models and resources for teaching pre-service teachers about formative-assessment strategies. This latter work could serve to assure that new classroom teachers begin teaching able to teach and assess formatively, thus reducing the need for formative-assessment professional development work in the future.