Beacon Learning Center. This web-based resource provides information and professional development for teachers in assessment and features some of SERVE’s professional development activities that were used in this district. Teacher resources include a lesson plan template along with a rubric that defines high-quality lesson plans.
Classroom Connections. This website provides a variety of resources for those interested in improving assessment practices, particularly formative assessment (assessment for learning rather than of learning). Currently seven one-and-a-half hour activities are available on the website. These activities can be completed during a faculty or grade-level meeting as a way of learning about various assessment topics (e.g., “learning to set criteria with students”).
Improving Classroom Assessment: A Toolkit for Professional Developers. This 1,200-page resource describes professional development activities for building teachers’ knowledge and skills in assessing students, particularly in the use of alternative assessment methods. The appendix includes sample alternative assessments for a variety of subject areas and grade levels.
Coalition of Essential Schools. The Coalition advocates authentic assessment as a key component of high school reform, and the Resources section of the website features articles on authentic assessment.
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National Association for the Education of Young Children.
NAEYC shares position statements on key issues, such as early learning standards and schools readiness. These statements are developed through a consensus methodology.
National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing. CRESST, along with several national partners, has been working on a set of standards for state accountability systems. Accountability is currently a major purpose for state testing and, therefore, states need guidance in conducting self-reviews of their own systems. (See Policy Briefs #1 and #5.) Other organizations (www.aasa.org) have outlined recommendations that reflect the need for state tests to also inform instructional improvement. For a list of articles, publications (e.g., Building Tests to Support Instruction and Accountability: A Guide to Policymakers, 2001), and websites on assessment issues, go to “Issues and Insights” and then “Assessment.”
Accountability for Instructional Quality.
Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC). The Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh developed a set of Principles of Learning to help educators analyze the quality of instruction and the opportunities to learn afforded students. Also included are several publications from LRDC that describe the work of Community District #2 in New York, a district that has been working on instructional quality for over 12 years (PDF). LRDC’s article “Learning Organizations for Sustainable Reform” outlines a conceptual framework for district reform based on this district’s experiences (PDF).
Quality Work. The quality of assignments and intellectual work that teachers give students represents a measure of instructional quality. National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) has collected samples of teacher assignments and described the results using a “Quality Assignment Rubric.” For a summary of this work, go to www.CRESST.org (Report # 600 and 602, Teachers’ Assignments and Student Work: Opening a Window on Classroom Practice by Lindsay Clare Matsumura). The Teachers’ Page also has sample assignment materials and a training manual to use in learning to score assignments using the “Quality Assignment Rubric.”
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