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Section 2: Using assessment to inform and engage students, their parents and school administrators

In an era of challenging standards for learning, matched by challenging tests of that learning, a teacher should be able to provide assessments that tell students, their parents and school administrators where students stand in relation to the expectations for their learning.

To do this, a teacher will have to make sense of the standards, translate them not only to effective instruction but also to sound assessments, organize those assessments into a systematic program and report the results in several ways, to several audiences. One important aim in all of this will be to engage students and parents in the students' learning.

Strategy 1
Translating standards for instruction and assessment

Strategy 2
Engaging students in the assessment of their work and learning

Strategy 3
Reporting to parents and administrators

Curriculum and learning standards do not speak for themselves. If they are to achieve real good for students, they must be translated, not only into instruction that addresses them squarely but also into assessments that measure them validly. That can be demanding work.

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To achieve sounder assessment, a teacher will be using multiple sources of information; the question is how to combine them in an assessment program.

To engage students and parents in learning, the multiple sources can be organized in portfolios, that may be used in student-led parent-teacher conferences.

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Supposing that the teacher has constructed an assessment program that provides reliable and userful estimates of student learning, there remains the task of reporting results to parents and to school administrators.

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