Assessment crisis the absence of assessment for learning
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Assessment Crisis: The Absence Of Assessment FOR Learning. By Richard J. Stiggins Reviewed by Teresa, Seth, Ron, Mitzi, Becky, & Shirley. “ A real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes but of seeing through new eyes.” - Marcel Proust. Introduction.

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Assessment Crisis: The Absence Of Assessment FOR Learning

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Assessment Crisis: The Absence Of Assessment FOR Learning

By Richard J. Stiggins

Reviewed by Teresa, Seth, Ron,

Mitzi, Becky, & Shirley

“ A real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes but of seeing through new eyes.” - Marcel Proust


Discuss the difference between assessment of learning and for learning.

Some Political Viewpoints:

  • Use assessment for rewards/ punishments to increase teacher/ student effort

  • Intensify intimidation associated with annual testing to force achievement

  • Fail to look at how to help students learn or be able to learn


  • School administrators have tendencies to bow down to political beliefs

  • The community wants educators to provide valid and reliable test scores

School Improvement Should Answer These Questions:

  • How can we use assessments to help all our students want to learn?

  • How can we help them feel able to learn?

  • Can assessment have greater impact?

  • Can state and district assessments help our students want to learn?

  • How can we maximize the positive impact of our scores?


  • Standardized testing goes against the “all children can learn” philosophy

  • Teachers must rely on classroom assessment for day to day decision making

  • Build assessment systems that balance training and different types of assessment

  • Healthy assessment environments need to be developed

The Evolution of Our Vision of Excellence in Assessment

School Improvement Requires:

  • Articulation of higher achievement standards

  • Transformation of expectations into rigorous assessments

  • Expectation of accountability for student achievement

Assessment provides the evidence of success on the part of students, teachers, and the system.

School Improvement

  • We have set world-class standards as opposed to minimizing competencies

  • Rewards for schools producing high scores, sanctions for schools that do not

Since 1990’s…

  • Involved in international assessment programs

  • Invested billions of dollars to ensure accuracy on these assessments of learning

  • Testimonial belief in the power of standardized testing, we would permit so many levels of testing to remain in place, all at same time and at a very high cost

The Flaw in the Vision

  • Assess to motivate

  • Work hard….fail harder….succeed

  • If you try to fail and succeed, what have you done?

A More Powerful Vision

  • A more powerful vision:

    • Assessments of learning

    • Assessment for learning

      • Keep students learning and remain confident

Are Teachers Ready?

  • Only 12 states require competence in assessment for teacher licensing

  • Most teacher preparation programs provide no work in assessment literacy

  • Administrators also lack training in assessment

Are Teachers Ready?Con’t

  • Nation of educators “unschooled in the principles of sound assessment”

  • Teachers don’t know how to use assessment as a tool for teaching and learning

  • Student progress often measured incorrectly

Are Teachers Ready?Con’t

  • Instructional decisions based on misinformation

  • Misdiagnosis of student needs

  • Students misunderstand their own abilities to learn

  • Miscommunication regarding student progress

  • No effective assessment for learning in classrooms

Relevant Position Statements

  • During 1990’s, virtually every professional teaching association adopted standards of teacher competence that include an assessment component

  • NEA, AFT, & NCME

Relevant Position Statements con’t

  • These standards are over decade old and still have little impact on teacher and administrator prep

  • Joint commissions call for shift of emphasis from external to classroom assessment and a focus on professional development for educators

Balancing Assessments of and for Learning

Assessments of and for Learning must be . . .

  • accurate in their depiction of student achievement

  • used to benefit students

Assessment of Learning . . .

  • Provides information once a year

  • Reflects large-group increases or decreases in learning

  • Gatekeepers for high-stakes decisions

Assessment for learning . . .

  • Informs moment-to-moment instructional decisions

  • Manages the learning process as it unfolds

  • Diagnoses students needs during learning

Stiggins posed a critical school improvement question : . .

What would happen to standardized test scores if we brought assessment for learning online as a full partner in support of student learning?

Startling Research . . .Encouraging Answers . . .

What kinds of improvements in classroom assessment practice are likely to yield the greatest gains in achievement?-Black and Wiliam (1998)

Teachers applying principles of assessment for learning by . . .

  • Increasing the accuracy of classroom assessment

  • Providing students with frequent informative feedback

  • Involving students deeply in the classroom assessment, record keeping and communication processes

Reported effect sizes of one-half to a full standard deviation improvement which equates to . . .

  • gains of more than 30 percentile points

  • two grade-equivalents

  • 100 points on the SAT scale

Anticipating the Benefits of Balance

The Benefits of Balance For Students:

  • Confident learners because of success and student permission to take the risk to learn

  • Greater achievement for all students

  • Reduces the gap between middle and low-socioeconomic status students

  • Students in charge of their own learning

The Benefits of Balance For Teachers:

  • Students more motivated to learn

  • Instructional decisions informed by accurate information about student achievement

  • Savings in time

The Benefits of Balance For Parents:

  • See higher achievement and greater enthusiasm for learning from children

  • Understand children are becoming life-long learners

The Benefit to School Staff

  • Meet accountability standards

  • Get public recognition

  • Know how to assess for learning

Action Plan

  • Match every dollar invested for assessment of learning with development of assessment for learning

  • Launch a comprehensive, long-term professional development program for teachers and administrators to promote assessment literacy

  • Change licensing standards in every state for teachers and administrators to include assessment competency

Action Plan con’t

  • Change licensing standards in every state for teachers and administrators to include assessment competency

  • Require all teacher education programs to include assessment literacy for all prospective teachers

Questions For The Class

  • How would you advise the UNL Curriculum and Instruction professors to prepare UNL student teachers to meet the demands of assessment literacy in their future classrooms?

  • What ideas do you have to share with NDE in the process of changing licensing standards in Nebraska to provide every teacher and administrator with assessment competency?

Questions For The Class con’t

3. Finally, what are your ideas for launching a public relations campaign for educating the entire population about assessment for learning?

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