More of the Story on "Testing Doesn’t Have to Be a Dirty Word"

Maybe you heard it on NPR - teachers and students alike singing the praises of assessment! WNYC visited one of our partner schools, West Side Collaborative, to learn what it looks like when assessment is real time, precise, and really useful to both teachers and students.

New tools are helping transform the culture of assessment. Collecting and sharing data on how their community is mastering learning standards (rather than just scoring on tests) changes both kids’ and teachers’ thinking about the purpose of assessment. (Families are easily included, too.)

Through innovative technology, results are captured from all sorts of formal and informal assessments at the many stages of learning. That means that in the middle of a class, a teacher might quickly see that some of his students just aren’t getting it - and fix his instruction to tackle the problem. And as importantly, the kids themselves feel empowered by being able to track and improve their own performance.

The enthusiasm is coupled with positive results. At Global Technology Preparatory, Principal David Baiz cites a “huge proficiency increase” in math and ELA results with use of Teaching Matters’ mastery-based assessment approach.

Teaching Matters has assembled a 14-school Assessment Matters community. Recently we hosted teacher leaders to share insights with each other. Teacher Paul Kehoe's talk was inspiring. Listening in, what impressed me most was the way teachers were learning and leading. In a profession where improvement is often done to teachers and not with them, it was gratifying to see how with support teachers learned to use this information to take agency over their progress.

To make a comparison: like doctors who go on grand rounds and talk about what they see, teachers too are specially positioned. With support from Teaching Matters, teachers develop both the mindset and the skills to better observe, analyze and diagnose what their students need and ultimately make both powerful and subtle adjustments to instruction.

Want to know more about our Assessment Matters community and how teachers are using assessment to achieve learning gains? Check out these case studies: