With the current focus on standards and high-stakes testing, never has assessment been a more important issue. In February, we’re bringing together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss what the role of assessment should be—and how to get there.
If you want to dive deeper into this hot topic, consider these books—both classics and groundbreaking new works—on assessment practices.
Assessment Reading List
1. Common Formative Assessments 2.0 by Larry Ainsworth
Common Formative Assessments 2.0 presents a powerful, research-based process for improving teaching and student learning that is applicable to all standards, all grades, and all content areas. CFA 2.0 is so much more than assessment design. It shows teachers how they can intentionally align standards, instruction, assessment, and data analysis in every unit of study. The CFA 2.0 process is not limited to assessment design only. Rather, it is a system of intentionally aligned components (standards, instruction, assessments, and data analysis) that all work together to improve student learning.
“One of the hardest tasks for teachers is to align pre- and post- classroom assessments to best measure the change or progress made between two occasions. Such assessments need to have questions anchored on a common scale (i.e., whatever is measured on each occasion should be the same construct) and anchored on a common difficulty scale. Larry Ainsworth spells out how classroom teachers can work together to create such tasks, which allows a major focus, as it should, on using progress to help monitor learning and adapt teaching.”
John Hattie, Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia; Author, Visible Learning
2. Assessing English Language Learners: Bridges to Educational Equity by Margo Gottlieb
Ten years ago, the first edition of Margo Gottlieb’s Assessing English Language Learners changed the dialogue about how educators envision educational equity for students. Since then, the ELL and dual language student populations have grown exponentially, and so has the need for forward-thinking and effective approaches to facilitating students’ academic language development alongside their content knowledge.
This thoroughly updated edition of Gottlieb’s classic delivers a complete set of tools, techniques, and ideas for planning and implementing instructional assessment.
“In this exciting, practitioner-friendly volume, Margo Gottlieb shows us how assessment as, for, and of learning can provide a level playing field for today’s language learners. Educators working with English language learners will find this assessment-moxie book truly invaluable.”
—W. James Popham, Professor Emeritus
University of California, Los Angeles
3. Revolutionize Assessment by Rick Stiggins
Rick Stiggins details profound changes in the mission of our schools that requires a bold new vision of excellence in assessment. He combines decades of experience with international research to define a vision that uses assessment to supercharge student learning, not merely measure it—to support student growth, not merely hold schools accountable for it.Revolutionize Assessment.
“Noted authority Rick Stiggins offers an important ‘wake up call’ as he documents how our nation has lost its way on the assessment road, and offers a hopeful prescription for how we can reclaim the promise of assessments that truly support meaningful learning.”
Jay McTighe, Co-author of the Understanding by Design® series
4. Assessment 3.0 by Mark Barnes
Most educators take for granted that “A-through-F” grades are the best measure of learning. But Mark Barnes’s formula for feedback, titled SE2R (Summarize, Explain, Redirect, Resubmit), has delivered stunning results to the forward-thinking schools that have tried it.
Now you can tap into the power of SE2R to supercharge student learning and accountability. The method in this book will loosen and then break your classroom’s dependence on traditional grading systems that do little more than silence student voices.
“Mark Barnes is a leader and revolutionary voice in the movement to rid our educational system of an outdated assessment model. In Assessment 3.0, he delivers a persuasive pitch that current grading practices are both poor reflections of learning and damaging to students. Not only does he clearly define the problem, he offers a powerful solution with his SE2R model and delivers a blueprint for implementation that can transform classrooms and schools.”
Dave Burgess, Educator, Professional Development Speaker, and Author of Teach Like a Pirate
5. The Other Side of the Report Card by Maurice Elias
Students are more than their academic grades—you know it and their parents know it. The progress they make in social-emotional learning and character development is essential to their success in school and in life. But while educators have made great strides in improving grading for academic achievement, we’ve left too many teachers still guessing when it comes to outdated behavior ratings and comment sections.
That’s where this book comes in. Grounded in research and in the author’s work with teachers and administrators, it offers guidance on retooling report cards to better reflect the whole child, integrating SEL and CD into any school- or district-wide grading system.
“When you take report cards to the next level, you make sure that communication reflects all of the important characteristics of success—and ensure that students develop the skills they need for the future. This book brilliantly illuminates the key role played by social-emotional learning in each student’s development and it challenges the tradition of relegating the SEL/EQ observations to the back of the report card. If we want to develop better communities, this book shows the way.”
Dr. Neil MacNeill PhD, EdD – Head Master
Ellenbrook Indpendent Primary School
6. Formative Assessment by Margaret Heritage
Formative assessment allows teachers to identify and close gaps in student understanding and move learning forward. Now this research-based book helps educators develop the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully implement formative assessment in the classroom.
Margaret Heritage walks readers through every step of the process and offers specific examples to illustrate the implementation of formative assessment across a range of subject areas and grade levels.
Formative assessment has changed the culture of my classroom. This book provides a straightforward approach to uncovering what my students know, what they still need to learn, and how to use assessment as a tool for learning instead of evaluating.”
Shawn Morgan, Math Instructional Support Teacher
Syracuse City School District, NY