The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states and districts an opportunity to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning by ensuring that stakeholders in the education ecosystem are assessment literate. By explicitly incorporating training and professional development that supports assessment literacy into state ESSA applications, states can enhance student learning by leveraging funds to develop assessment policies and systems that are in balance and reflect quality assessment practices.
We feel strongly that without sound assessment literacy, teachers are missing out on opportunities to improve student learning. Why?
- Assessment serves an instructional role: The role of assessment must be expanded to serve as a teaching and learning tool used in the service of greater and broader student learning success. Schools can use quality assessment practices to support equity for all students.
- This means understanding sound assessment practice: Assessment is the process of gathering information about student learning to inform instructional decisions. Although assessment is often used to certify learning, policy makers and school leaders must embrace the need for balanced assessment systems that also meet the information needs of those who use assessment to support student learning. All involved, from the classroom to the boardroom, must develop an understanding of the principles of sound assessment practice; they must be assessment literate.
- It’s crucial for teachers and school leaders: Teachers need the opportunity to learn how to use assessment during learning to help all students remain confident, successful learners who believe in themselves. Research has verified the powerful impact sound classroom assessment practices can have on student learning success, but few teachers and even fewer principals have been given the opportunity to become assessment literate. Professional development programs are readily and inexpensively available to develop assessment literacy. Assessment literate teachers and school leaders are essential to greater and broader student learning.
States can use flexibility within ESSA to ensure that students, parents, teachers, school leaders, and school districts develop an understanding of the principles and practices of sound assessment, supporting student learning by becoming assessment literate.
Here are some resources that you can use to take advantage of ESSA to improve assessment literacy:
- Access the guidance document for ways to leverage ESSA: http://assessmentliteracy.org/national-task-force-assessment-education/essa-guiding-document
- Read some of our blog posts that share ideas on leveraging ESSA:
- How to Leverage ESSA to Improve Assessment Literacy Among Stakeholders
- Leveraging ESSA for Assessment Literacy – Sample Language for State ESSA Applications
- Arm yourself with a solid understanding of the definition of assessment literacy: http://www.assessmentliteracy.org/national-task-force-assessment-education/definition-assessment-literacy/