Next Gen. Assessment: Assessing &
Measuring What Matters Most
Jonathan E. Martin
Head of School
St. Gregory College Prep
Not everything that can be counted counts, and
not everything that counts can be counted.
Data must inform, not replace, judgment.
Appreciating Howard Levin, Urban School, San
“We didn’t require data to know that our students were
learning more and more powerfully with laptops”
I spent 9 years opposing the california
association’s mandated erb testing, saying it
was an inappropriate requirement for
Instead, I argued, in CAIS, let’s be the nation’s
leader in assessment excellence, more broadly
begin with the end in mind
Balancing the Scorecard
Our schools will be evaluated and measured,
whether we like it or not, especially with SAT
scores and college lists. We need to take the
initiative, inside schools, to broaden the
measurements and balance the scorecard.
the measurement is the message
5 suggested tools
Expanded reporting, particularly with 21st c. skills
Pat Bassett’s Demonstrations of Learning
High School Survey of Student Engagement (hssse)
NWEA’s Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP)
College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA)
expanding student reporting
assessing and reporting on desired outcomes
Sources for skill sets
Partnership for 21st c. Skills:
• critical thinking,
Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills
NAIS commission’s list of essential 21st c. capacities
The Egg: a work in progress
Just tacking to report card not successful
Embedding it instead in advisory, conferencing,
goal-setting, and self-assessment.
Pat Bassett’s call for “demonstrations of
Define the skills of your graduates, and required
“exhibitions” or demonstrations of those skills
Examples from Bassett
•Conduct a fluent conversation in a foreign language about a
piece of writing in that language.
•Write a cogent and persuasive opinion piece on a matter of
•Declaim with passion and from memory a passage that is
meaningful — of one’s own or from the culture’s literature or
•Produce or perform a work of art.
Wouldn’t it be great if each school in a
competitive set defined their lists differently,
driven by unique mission, and families chose
schools by their defined outcomes (and
demonstrated success at those outcomes?)
What are/ would be your school’s
demonstrations of learning?
external assessment : measuring what matters
Does your educational mission include:
Meaningful student engagement in learning?
Supportive school culture and strong community?
Personalized learning for breadth of student abilities in
Development of higher order thinking skills, and effective
To improve accountability.
For marketing and communications.
To improve learning in the 21st century!
NAIS monograph: july 2010
Student Outcomes that Measure the School’s Value Added
“Independent schools are now being challenged to
show how their educational model generates what it
does and how it is worth the investment.
Consider using a tool or tools that best fits your school,
mission, and community, knowing that
the primary purpose for doing so is institutional
assessment and improvement. You will be stronger
and more financially viable for doing so.”
3 assessments featured in nais monograph
High School Survey of Student Engagement
Task: review slides, draw inferences about
learning at St. Gregory.
Offer suggested action items for improved
student engagement at St. Gregory based on
Secretary Duncan’s call for assessment 2.0
• Almost everywhere I went, I heard people express concern
that the curriculum had narrowed as more educators
“taught to the test. Existing state assessments in
mathematics and English often fail to capture the full
spectrum of what students know and can do. Students,
parents, and educators know there is more to a sound
education than picking the right selection for a multiple
• It’s for all these reasons that shortly after taking office,
President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state
education chiefs “to develop standards and
assessments that don’t simply measure whether students
can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess
21st century skills like problem-solving and critical
thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.“
I believe the impact of this next generation of
assessments in the classroom will be
dramatic—and that the new assessments will
support learning and instructional practices
that teachers have long hungered for
One-shot, year-end bubble tests administered on a single day,
too often lead to a dummying down of curriculum and
instruction throughout the course of the entire school year.
In short, most of the assessment done in schools today is after
the fact and designed to indicate only whether students
have learned. Not enough is being done to assess students’
thinking as they learn to boost and enrich learning, and
track student growth.
For the first time, state assessments will make widespread use
of smart technology. They will provide students with
realistic, complex performance tasks, immediate feedback,
computer adaptive testing, and incorporate
accommodations for a range of students.
Northwest Evaluation Association
Measurement of Academic Progress
St. Gregory teachers discuss the MAP
One of the biggest frustrations of teachers with existing assessments is
that they fail to test higher-order reasoning and writing skills, and
thus fail to show what students know and can do.
For the first time, many teachers will have the state assessments they
have longed for– tests of critical thinking skills and complex
student learning that are not just fill-in-the-bubble tests of basic
skills but support good teaching in the classroom.
The new assessments will better measure the higher-order thinking
skills so vital to success in the global economy of the 21st century
and the future of American prosperity. To be on track today for
college and careers, students need to show that they can analyze
and solve complex problems, communicate clearly, synthesize
information, apply knowledge, and generalize learning to other
Council for Aid to Education’s
College and Work Readiness Assessment
St. Gregory students discuss the CWRA
Example Performance Task:
Source: Council for Aid to Education, CWRA Institutional
You advise Pat Williams, the president of DynaTech, a
company that makes precision electronic instruments
and navigational equipment. Sally Evans, a member of
DynaTech’s sales force, recommended that DynaTech
buy a small private plane (a SwiftAir 235) that she and
other members of the sales force could use to visit
Pat was about to approve the purchase when there was
an accident involving a SwiftAir 235. Your document
library contains the following materials:
Documents or Artifacts:
• Newspaper article about the accident
• Federal Accident Report on in-flight breakups in single-engine
• Internal Correspondence (Pat’s e-mail to you and Sally’s e-mail to
• Charts relating to SwiftAir’s performance characteristics
• Excerpt from magazine article comparing SwiftAir 235 to similar
• Pictures and descriptions of SwiftAir Models 180 and 235
• Do the available data tend to support or refute
the claim that the type of wing on the SwiftAir
235 leads to more in-flight breakups?
• What is the basis for your conclusion?
• What other factors might have contributed to the
accident and should be taken into account?
• What is your preliminary recommendation about
whether or not DynaTech should buy the plane
and what is the basis for this recommendation?
What skills must students demonstrate to
CWRA tasks require that students integrate:
and written communication skills.
The holistic integration of these skills on the CWRA
tasks mirrors the requirements of serious
thinking and writing tasks faced in life outside of
StG freshmen StG seniors
Mean Raw Score 1070 1107 1235
(compared to college
St. Gregory seniors
Mean Raw Score Points Increase 128
Percentile Increase, on the College
30 percentile points
(67th to 97th)
Median Standard Deviation Increase .92 (compared to .51 at other high
Bringing CWRA style assessment
of higher order thinking skills
to classroom evaluation and instruction.
performance task assessment
It is an empty exercise to assess student learning
without providing a means to adjust teaching in
response to deficiencies revealed through the
information gleaned from that assessments.
Marc Chun: Taking Teaching to the (Performance)
Performance task assessment
considering an issue from multiple perspectives
critically examining evidence
valuing claims that are backed by appropriate
and adequate evidence,
reasoning objectively and dispassionately
arriving at informed judgments and decisions.