- A report released Wednesday by assessment experts and education researchers suggests high-quality assessments could be an essential tool to identify learning loss and lead to effective intervention.
- Representatives on the panel that contributed to the report, released by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, identified seven strategies to make assessments impactful:
- Take the first few weeks to rebuild relationships, focus on social-emotional learning, ensure well-being of students and communicate with parents.
- Identify the purpose assessments will serve by asking "Who is making what diagnosis to inform which actions?"
- Ensure assessments don't harm students by taking away from instruction, funneling students into remediation or misinterpreting results.
- Link assessment data, including formative assessments, to the curricula and teaching materials.
- Use formal interim assessments to guide school and district decision making around interventions and resource allocation.
- Tap parents as "co-teachers," allowing them to weigh in on their child's progress and weaknesses.
- Do not replace end-of-year summative tests with diagnostic assessments meant to gauge individual learning needs.
- The report cautions against the misuse of diagnostic tests and doing more harm than good by making hasty or ill-informed decisions once data is collected.
As schools approach the fall, there is an emerging debate about whether diagnostic assessments will hurt or help students as they recover from trauma and learning loss. This report seems to weigh in on that debate: High-quality assessments with clear purpose can help, and ill-designed ones with no clear purpose can harm.
“Educators have to do their best work, on steroids," Robin Lake, one of the report's authors and director of CRPE, said in the briefing.
She also warned four months of learning loss would be akin to an approximately $2.5 trillion dollar hit to the GDP as a long-term cost if losses aren't addressed.
"Now is the opportunity to make testing really meaningful," Lake said. "The truth is that kids have always been at different levels and have always had different needs.”