NEA, in partnership with Teach Plus, is encouraging teachers to visit Assessment Advisor, an online site that lets teachers rate the assessments that they have used in their own classrooms. An educator’s voice is crucial when it comes to the development of assessments and the site allows their voices to be heard.
Assessment Advisor (assessment-advisor.org/nea) lets real teachers in real classrooms evaluate the teaching assessments they have used with their students, share the pros and cons of each one, and evaluate whether or not a particular assessment works.
“Too often educators’ voices are left out of the conversation when it comes to developing assessments. Their expertise and experience should be part of the decision-making process,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Teachers invented tests! They are deeply committed to student success and they know that testing is a great way to measure that success. But they want well-designed, timely assessments that monitor individual student performance and progress across a range of subjects and skills. For teachers, Assessment Advisor is a tool that allows them to share which ones work.”
“Assessment data has allowed us to gain a clear-eyed view of the staggering size of the achievement gaps between low-income African-American and Latino students and their more advantaged peers. Examining the data and acting to address inequity is a moral imperative,” said Teach Plus CEO Celine Coggins. “But some assessments are much better than others at measuring the skills we want our children to acquire in school and giving teachers useful information to help them do their jobs well. Assessment Advisor was designed by teachers to ensure that teachers get to define what is needed to help them improve their practice.”
Neither teachers nor policymakers have a clear way of figuring out which assessments can help them best identify their students’ strengths and weaknesses—especially for the 69 percent of teachers who teach grades and subjects that aren’t covered by state standardized tests. In the summer of 2011, a group of teachers from urban school districts across the country got together to help solve the problem and came up with the idea of the Assessment Advisor. Teachers in the classroom have a clear view about what it would take to design the ideal assessments.
“Educators and students have a lot to gain if we can find out which existing assessments paint a real picture of today’s students’ success,” said Van Roekel. “Policymakers shouldn’t have to guess—and then learn through trial and lots of errors. And teachers should have a resource for finding assessments that will help them teach right now.”