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» A Culture that Engages Every Family, Steven M. Constantino, Ed.D.

» How to Revitalize Your School-Parent Compact, Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D.

» How Do You Know if You're Really Open to Partnership, Anne Henderson & Karen Mapp

»PTA--Gateway to Engagement, Advocacy, and Access, Meryl Ain, Ed.D.

» The Power of Asking-Instead of Telling, Jody McVittie, M.D.

» Empathy in Action, Rick Ackerly, Ed.M.

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What Parents & Educators Want from Student Assessments

By Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D.

As the national debate on student testing and assessment continues at the highest levels of government, those at the grassroots of education - parents and educators - weigh in on what they believe is most important.

test-takingIn a new study released from the Northwest Evaluation Association, we learn that parents, teachers, and district administrators in K-12 education want a whole child approach to educating each individual student. They want feedback that covers every academic subject as well as on the tangible and intangible skills needed to be college and/or career-ready.

Key findings from the report include agreement on the following:

  • Child-centered teaching and learning must be the central focus of education.

  • Student performance should be measured in a full range of subjects, including how kids learn to critically think.

  • Decision-making related to teaching and learning should be made at the local level, not by top-down government mandates.

  • Regular, formative assessments of learning are seen as more valuable by parents and educators than summative assessments that include high-stakes testing and end-of-course exams. Formative assessments include classroom observations, homework, class quizzes, etc.

  • For parents, testing loses relevance within one month of administration.

What are Parents' Top Priorities?

This study also measured how parents think about their child's education and the priorities that were important to them.  At least 90% cited the following priorities as extremely important or very important:


Four Recommendations

As a result of this study, the NWEA issued four recommendations. They believe this is a pivotal moment in the U.S. education system that demands deep reflection and engagement by all stakeholders. They urge policy makers to:

  • Broaden the dialogue on student assessments. Go beyond the pursuit of summative and high-stakes testing to a deeper focus on the whole child.

  • Avoid tunnel vision. Rather than focus assessments in limited subject areas, broaden the subjects assessed to encompass all areas of student learning.

  • Develop innovative methodologies. Move beyond traditional ways of assessing to measure how students apply thinking, learning, and life skills.

  • Encourage grassroots decision-making. Involve parents, educators, and district administrators at local levels in developing ways of assessing that support student learning.

Download the full 25-page report, "For Every Child, Multiple Measures: What Parents and Educators Want from K-12 Assessments."  This is a must-read report for parents, educators, and school administrators. And it is a powerful opportunity to discuss the critical role parents and families need to play in their children's education.  

You can also watch a 5-minute video that highlights the report:

For Every Child, Multiple Measures - Overview from NWEA on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: Bindaas Madhavi

Posted on April 19, 2012 by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D.

Marilyn is co-founder and president of the National ParentNet Association. A developmental psychologist and researcher, her work focuses on positive youth development, youth civic engagement, and family-school-community partnerships. Follow her blogs at Psychology Today and Roots of Action.  Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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(www.ParentInvolvementMatters.org does not handle reprint requests. For permission to reprint articles, please contact the author directly.)

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Tags: *Educational Policy, *School-Family Partnership, Ed Reform, NCLB, Theory-Research


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