Refocusing assessment on teaching and learning

This post is sponsored by Curriculum Associates.
Assessment. It could almost be considered a “bad word” in the education world. With varying opinions, bringing up the Common Core State Standards or discussing state tests can sometimes feel like opening the ultimate can of worms. But all of that aside, I think we can agree that measuring student growth and giving school leaders and teachers the insight they need to improve instruction and guide resource decisions is vitally important.
Can we achieve these goals by using assessments in smarter ways? Will new technology let us increase the insights we give to educators and decrease the number of minutes that students spend in tests? Can we make assessment a “good word” again?
I recently had a chance to sit down with Ken Tam, executive director of personalized learning at Curriculum Associates to get his thoughts on assessment and where it is headed in the future. Here’s my interview with him:
Why has assessment become a “bad word” in some circles?
There has been too much focus on high stakes assessment for purposes like accountability. And there hasn’t been nearly enough emphasis on how we can put assessment to use in the classroom by giving teachers information about student progress and insight into guiding remediation and reteaching. Students currently see assessments as tests that determine their outcomes through grades, placement in special programs, and so forth. So this just adds to their anxiety. …