Assessment Literacy Standards: A National Imperative

The purpose of this publication is to increase assessment literacy for policymakers, district and school administrators, teachers, and students. To do so, the authors have created assessment literacy standards for each stakeholder group. Emphasis is on maximizing assessment benefits, reducing negative consequences, increasing assessment literacy and improving student achievement. The publication includes an assessment glossary. Several very short appendices describe assessment development, assessment purposes, assessment methods, assessment uses and tools, and scoring tools. 

Content Comments 

The purposes of this publication are well defined and generally met, using fairly well-established development methods. Writing, organization, and design are excellent, despite some content repetition. This is an easy to read and use publication supporting different stakeholders including policymakers, teachers, administrators, and students.

While the authors have established very rigorous assessment literacy standards, some of them could be beyond stakeholders' abilities. For example, younger elementary students may not be able to "Keep track of their own learning over time," or "Use assessments and assessment feedback to improve their attitude toward learning." Assessment literacy standards for teachers, while helpful, may exceed their capacity, such as the standard to know "What assessment data validly reflects a teacher's effectiveness." Indeed, this is a difficult question even for assessment researchers. 

Another issue is the lack of "existence-proof," meaning that an education recommendation or reform has much greater credibility when supported by evidence that at least one school or school district has implemented the recommendation or reform successfully. It is of course one thing to bring experts together to create standards, which the authors have done very nicely, but without evidence that they work in practice, users are far less likely to adapt them. Nevertheless, these standards have much to offer and are worth a good look.