Sharing Insight on How Assessment Moves Student Progress

Second in Series of Four Issue Papers from Pearson Illustrates How Assessments Can Be Leveraged To Advance Personalized Learning, Support Data-Driven Decision Making and Ensure Greater Accountability

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We are at a crossroads with a significant opportunity to help students achieve by using a balanced assessment approach. With the call for higher standards and higher quality assessment systems, Pearson's issue paper is poised to help those not steeped in the area of assessment to begin to understand the value and impact it has on students' lives.

New York, New York (PRWEB) May 13, 2009

Pearson, the world's leading education publishing and technology company, today released Using Assessments to Improve Learning and Student Progress, an issue paper designed to help policymakers, educators, and administrators evaluate how assessment can support teaching and learning. Through the paper, Pearson examines the role of assessment in the teaching and learning process, and explores how to help teachers and students utilize both "assessments for learning" and "assessments of learning" to gauge and improve student progress.

Pearson's issue paper discusses how assessments provide objective information to support evidence-based or data-driven decision making. While there are many contributing factors that support successful teaching and learning, assessment continues to be an important piece in the learning puzzle. The paper explores the growing body of evidence that shows when teachers use well-constructed, professionally developed assessments students can see larger gains in their performance.

"President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have made it clear that high standards, assessments that are aligned with college and career expectations, and international benchmarks are essential to reversing the 'race to the bottom,'" said Will Ethridge, CEO of Pearson's North American education businesses. "Pearson's paper on assessments offers policymakers, educators, and administrators additional support for the work they do to improve the quality of education in this new environment of reform."

According to research cited in Using Assessments to Improve Learning and Student Progress, curriculum-embedded instructional assessments and assessments of accountability can improve student achievement by targeting instruction to the skills and needs of the individual learner. Additionally, the paper discusses the importance of a balanced approach to assessment that uses both summative (used after instruction to collect information regarding mastery of content) and formative (process to determine how students are learning) assessments. This balanced approach ultimately benefits not only the administrators, teachers and parents, but, most importantly, the students.

Despite the evidence supporting assessments, the general understanding of how they work and are applied to enhance learning is lagging. Pearson's paper suggests that states and districts need to embrace a balanced assessment system and recommends ways in which leaders can foster teacher and student success. A sampling of these recommendations includes:

  • Development and growth of formal teacher education on assessment for learning
  • Development of tools and reports that enable teachers to manage and use "just in time" results to improve individual student instruction
  • Implementation of student-friendly learning systems, reports, and tools that provide clear information to students for managing their own learning
  • Establishment of longitudinal data-management systems so student progress can be measured over time, and so educators and parents can project whether a student is on a path to proficiency and to reach important benchmarks, such as college readiness.

"When done well, assessments benefit the entire school community," said Ethridge. "The outcomes can help foster a more collaborative culture, successfully monitor learning in a timely manner, and motivate students by illustrating their continuous improvement."

Pearson's issue paper encourages assessment literacy training for all teachers, explaining the value of using reliable, professionally developed assessments for learning. This strategy, combined with targeted professional development, will empower teachers to bring new relevance to the teach-and-learn cycle and result in improved learning.

In addition, students can benefit from playing an active role in their own assessment. The paper points out a variety of ways, including:

  • Training and implementation of student self-evaluation
  • More student peer review and collaboration
  • Involvement of students in their own parent/teacher meetings, allowing them a key role in presenting their own goals and progress to their parents

The paper closes by addressing what's next for assessment, providing concrete solutions for improving assessment, such as increased assessment literacy for teachers, students, and parents; funding and support for securing well-constructed, reliable, professional formative assessments; ongoing professional development for educators and districts; and funding and support for building longitudinal data systems.

"Right now there is an emphasis on rigorous assessments as a fundamental tool to reform education in this country," Ethridge said. "We are at a crossroads with a significant opportunity to help students achieve by using a balanced assessment approach. With the call for higher standards and higher quality assessment systems, Pearson's issue paper is poised to help those not steeped in the area of assessment to begin to understand the value and impact it has on students' lives."

For a downloadable copy of the Using Assessments to Improve Learning and Student Progress issue paper including an Assessment Glossary of Terms, go to http://www.pearsoned.com . Using Assessments to Improve Learning and Student Progress is one of four Pearson issue papers focusing on key education topics, including College Readiness, Teaching Quality, Personalized Learning and Educational Technologies.

Tags: assessment, Pearson, education, summative assessment, formative assessment

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company's investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, AIMSweb, Stanford 10, Edustructures, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, visit http://www.pearson.com.

Contact:
Adam Gaber
(212) 641-6118

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