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Professional Learning

Professional Learning

Strategic assessment systems that emphasize formative practices are a proven driver of improved student outcomes and successful continuous improvement processes. Educators, schools, and districts should engage in ongoing professional learning around strategic assessment, strategic data use, as well as ongoing assessment and data literacy to fuel their continuous improvement process.

Our goal is to provide access to a variety of resources to support educators, teams, schools, and districts in deepening the knowledge, implementing the practices, and embedding the habits related to strategic assessment

Recommended Reading

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Key Resources
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Education First Playbook 

CSAI Assessment Design Toolkit

WISExplore Inquiry 

Assessment and Data Literacy E-Learning Modules


Education First Playbook: Better and Fewer Local Assessments: A Toolkit for Educators

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Ed First’s Playbook helps schools and districts streamline the district assessment strategy by providing guidance to accompany Achieve’s Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts. The playbook provides clear and detailed direction, lessons learned and shares plug-and-play or adaptable tools and materials.

Districts should review their assessment systems to ensure assessments are purposefully aligned and utilized to support data inquiry and improve student outcomes. School districts can use Achieve’s assessment inventory along with Ed First’s Playbook to:

  • Understand and evaluate the quality of the assessments students are taking
  • Determine the minimum testing necessary to provide results that serve essential diagnostic, instructional and accountability purposes
  • Ensure the assessment results are used to support student learning

Tips for Successful Implementation

  • The assessment Inventory for Districts is a not a one-time event, rather an iterative process involving multiple stakeholders. The outcomes from the inventory including eliminated assessments, how the remaining assessments will be used and why they are important should be communicated with parents, the school board, and the community.
  • We encourage educators to leverage EdFirst’s Playbook as a more manageable entry point to the inventory process. If your team prefers to bypass the playbook, you can access the Assessment Inventory tool here:

CSAI Assessment Design Toolkit 

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The Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation (CSAI) at WestEd, along with other educational partners, created the Assessment Design Toolkit that includes videos and supplemental materials to help teachers write and select well-designed assessments. Although the primary audience is teachers and principals, district and state leaders can also use the Toolkit.

Educators can use this toolkit to:

  • Empower educators to become master assessment designers who plan, write, and select assessments which provide a clear sense of student learning.
  • Make informed decisions about using specific types of question items and improve current assessments.
  • Improve assessment literacy among teachers, especially teachers of non-tested grades and subjects who do not have state assessments to measure student growth.
  • Post modules to online learning platforms as professional development for teachers to access independently. Teams of teachers, Professional Learning Communities, and school departments can also use the modules to improve assessment literacy.

WISExplore Inquiry 

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Examine the WISExplore Data Inquiry Resources developed by the Wisconsin WISExplore team to encourage effective data use in school districts.

For questions about this information, contact Lauren Zellmer (608) 266-8499