Using Student Assessment Data: What Can We Learn from Schools Policy Issues, Issue 6.Report as inadecuate

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Data from nine Michigan elementary, middle, and high schools highlight the challenges and common strategies found in the use of student assessment data to meet public demands for accountability. The information gathered from assessment tools varies by frequency and type. Educators have, historically, underutilized data to guide practice because teachers typically do not receive analytical training, familiarity with processes for using data is infrequent, and data lacks face validity. The case studies indicate how schools can better use assessment data by limiting assessments to specific purposes, aligning assessment standards with curriculum and instruction, providing professional development, and involving teachers. Success depends of defining the purpose of assessment data in monitoring progress, evaluating assessment convergence or divergence, and the efficacy of local practices. State policy makers should: 1) set clear standards; 2) align assessments to standards; 3) prioritize assessment for intermediate education agencies; 4) provide professional development; 5) encourage college courses on assessment; 6) seek assistance; and 7) investigate the face validity of assessments. Local and district policy makers should decide which tests are necessary, involve teachers in developing assessment practices, and allocate more time so teachers may analyze and utilize assessment data. Assessment data can be a valuable tool in promoting educational improvements, but only when appropriately defined and used. (Contains 22 references.) (TEJ)

Descriptors: Accountability, Case Studies, Data Analysis, Data Collection, Data Interpretation, Educational Assessment, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation, Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Evaluation Utilization, Program Evaluation, Research Methodology, Research Utilization

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1900 Spring Road, Suite 300, Oak Brook, IL 60523-1480. Tel: 800-356-2735 (Toll Free); e-mail: policywww[at] For full text: For full text:

Author: Cromey, Allison


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