New Task Force To Tackle Educator Assessment Literacy

The organization behind the national K-12 assessment Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) has kicked off a new professional development initiative to help teachers learn how to work with assessments. The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) has expanded, its site dedicated to the topic, and announced that it would soon convene a task force to guide assessment literacy work. That working group will include new and experienced teachers, principals, superintendents, college professors and staff from national education organizations.

In a 2014 survey the organization identified a gap in what teachers and district administrators think they know about assessments and what they really understand. For example, asked to match seven assessment terms with their definitions, teachers were correct for some terms as little as 29 of the time. Administrators fared better; they were correct as little as 47 percent of the time.

The new professional development work will be guided by three external advisors, Rick Stiggins, founder and CEO of the Pearson Assessment Training Institute; Terri Akey, co-director of the research, evaluation and assessment at regional service provider Education Northwest; and Bernice Stafford, who recently served as a vice president at education consultancy Evans Newton.

"Assessment is a crucial part of the teaching and learning cycle, and yet many educators aren't getting the support or preparation they need to use information from assessments to help students succeed," noted NWEA CEO Matt Chapman. "We are committed to addressing this challenge and identifying the most promising solutions. Assessment literacy is a central component of NWEA's national agenda."

Members of the new task force will be announced in October.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.