Archive for September, 2010

Somewhere between formative and summative are benchmark assessments. Benchmark assessments are administered periodically throughout the school year to evaluate students’ knowledge and skills and play an important role in a balanced system of assessment. The Assessment and Accountability Comprehensive Center has released a new report that provides recommendations for states, school districts, and schools to support schools’ and districts’ increased capacity to select and use benchmark assessments for improved learning. The report, Benchmark Assessment for Improved Learning, describes the purposes of benchmark assessments and provides recommendations for selecting and using benchmark assessments, such as addressing validity, alignment, reliability, fairness and bias and accessibility, instructional sensitivity, utility, and reporting issues. A balanced assessment system supports assessment of student learning to improve student learning. What ideas from this report can help strengthen a well-balanced system of assessment?

Education is challenged with recruiting new talented individuals to the profession, particularly in light of the current economic conditions. A new Policy to Practice Brief from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (TQ Center) focuses on ways higher education, states, and districts can do just that. The brief, Teacher Leadership as a Key to Education Innovation, focuses on how to use teacher leadership to draw talented teachers to the profession. The TQ Center resource includes action steps and strategies to promote teacher leadership in schools that will improve retention, strengthen the teaching profession, build capacity of school leaders, and facilitate innovative advances. Encouraging teacher leadership may be an important strategy to build career growth into a field struggling to recruit and retain the country’s future teachers.