Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting Teacher Assessment Right

This is an excellent publication from the National Education Policy Center.
 "Notwithstanding the federal enthusiasm for test scores, many researchers have warned against using a single measurement of any kind as the primary basis for such important personnel decisions as teacher retention, dismissal or pay.... [P]olicymakers would do well to pause and carefully examine the issues that make teacher assessment so complex before implementing an assessment plan.
Steps toward that goal include that policymakers:
• Be clear about the purposes of any assessment before selecting strategies. Where formative and summative assessment are to be combined, plan to address the challenges of dual-purpose systems.
• Involve all key stakeholders in system design.
• Rather than employing a single assessment tool, gather evidence from multiple sources. Combine strategies so that the weakness of any single tool is offset by the strengths of another.
• Be sure that the criteria for assessing performance, artifacts or other factors are credible and are well understood by teachers and assessors.
• Provide high-quality, ongoing training for assessors and routinely calibrate their efforts to ensure consistent application of criteria.
• Look to high-quality research on existing tools and programs to inform the design of assessment systems.
• Commit sufficient resources to produce high-quality, productive assessment.