Getting Smart Podcast | An Assessment Center For Boosting Achievement, Efficacy & Hope

Efficacy and achievement are typical aspirations for assessment, but what about hope?
“If assessment does not build hope for kids we will lose them,” said Cassandra Erkens, one of three assessment experts at Solution Tree who recently launched the Solutions Tree Assessment Center.
The new Center is dedicated to promoting quality classroom assessment and academic confidence in young people. Listen to the following podcast to learn more about what is new in assessment, why Solution Tree launched the center and what makes it unique:

36de50d5-49bc-4e23-8ac7-d8db90c7a23e_Screenshot202016-09-092014.50.52Erkens outlined six tenets that guide the center’s comprehensive approach:

  • Student Investment
  • Productive Communication
  • Planned Assessment Architecture
  • Purposeful Assessment
  • Instructional Agility
  • Accurate Interpretation

Former school administrator Tom Schimmer is encouraged by interest in more sophisticated forms of assessment.
“Nothing says more about classroom relationship than assessment,” said Schimmer. If just used to identify differences, assessment can be punitive. Useful assessment guide practice, they are used to close gaps said Schimmer. He added, “Good assessment is part of a positive classroom culture of learning.”
Like us, Schimmer is excited to see more project-based learning, but he warns, “It’s easy to assign projects, but hard to assess them well.”
Nicole Dimich Vagle, the third center partner, has written extensively about designing quality assessments. She advocated a five step process:

  • Choose learning standards
  • Develop specific learning goals
  • Choose specific items/tasks
  • Design, quality item
  • Confirm student understanding

Center workshops will help school and district teams connect instruction, assessment and grading.
Schimmer said it’s critical that teachers understand what they are teaching and what reaching the goal looks like. He’s an advocate of standards-based evidence and “grades based on achievement of standards.”
Vagle said the center will work with teachers, schools and districts wherever they are on the assessment journey.
For more, see:

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Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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