Public opinion research conducted in 2014 for NWEA revealed that many teachers feel underprepared to use assessment results to inform their teaching. Simultaneously, district leaders believe that educator preparation programs need to better train teachers to integrate assessment results into instructional practice.
In response to these findings, NWEA announced a major initiative focused on improving assessment literacy for all. Recognizing an urgent need for change led to mobilization. In this instance, NWEA assembled a team of assessment experts and educators from around the country. In October 2015, the National Task Force on Assessment Education was launched to be a national voice on the issue of assessment literacy as well as to develop new approaches that colleges and school districts can put in practice.
One year later, the Task Force released a definition of Assessment Literacy. The definition states:
“Assessment is the process of gathering information about student learning to inform education-related decisions. One becomes Assessment Literate by mastering basic principles of sound assessment practice, coming to believe strongly in their consistent, high-quality application in order to meet the diverse needs of all students, and acting assertively based on those values.”
Defining Assessment Literacy supports one goal of the National Task Force: building tools and programs to prepare teachers to use assessment and better connect pre-service and in-service teachers for mutual learning. Additionally, the definition will help the Task Force to foster a national dialogue around effective and appropriate uses of assessment for education.
You can learn more about the Task Force members as well as NWEA’s initiative on the web site, assessmentliteracy.org. For links to a few Task Force member spotlights, click on the names below.