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Assessment in Perspective

  • Title:Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Reader Behind the Numbers
  • Author:Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan
  • Publication Date:April 2013
  • Grade Level:K-6
  • ISBN:9781571109644
  • Publisher:Stenhouse

STUDY GUIDE LINK

Assessment is an integral part of instruction. For the past decade, the focus on assessment—particularly via high-stakes mandated tests—has shifted away from the classroom and left teachers feeling like they are drowning in data. Assessment is, and needs to be again, much more than a number.

 Assessment in Perspective is about moving beyond the numbers and using assessment to find the stories they tell. This book helps teachers sort through the myriad of available assessments and use each to understand different facets of their readers. It discusses how to use a range of assessment types -- from reading conference notes and student work to running records and state tests -- together to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of a reader. The authors share a framework for thinking about the purpose, method, and types of different assessments. They also address the questions they ask when choosing or analyzing assessments:

  • What type of tool do we need: diagnostic, formative, or summative; formal or informal; quantitative or qualitative?
  • How do we use multiple assessments together to provide an in-depth picture of a reader?
  • When and how are we giving the assessment?
  • Do we want to be able to compare our readers to a standard score, or do we need to diagnose a reader's needs?
  • Which area of reading does this tool assess?
  • How can we use the information from assessments to inform our instruction?
  • What information does a particular assessment tell us, and what doesn't it tell us?
  • What additional information do we need about a reader to understand his or her learning needs?

The book emphasizes the importance of triangulating data by using varied sources, both formal and informal, and across multiple intervals. It explains the power of looking at different types of assessments side-by-side with displays to find patterns or inconsistencies. What's more, students are included as valuable sources of data. Letting students in on the process of assessment is key to helping them set goals, monitor their own progress, and celebrate growth. When assessment is viewed in this way, instruction can meet high standards and still be developmentally appropriate.

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Author Bio

After finding a career on Wall Street unfulfilling, Tammy Mulligan volunteered as a reading tutor for elementary students. "After just a few sessions I knew I had found my passion," she says. "I began taking graduate courses at Teachers College at night while I worked at the bank during the day. After finishing most of my class work, I was hired as an assistant teacher in a second-grade classroom at the Brooklyn Friends School. I loved teaching and never returned to the bank." Tammy and her coauthor Clare Landrigan have been working together for the past twenty-three years and currently run a private staff development business, Teachers to Teachers.They work with varied school systems to implement best practices in the field of literacy and to engage in institutional change. They blog regularly at Perspectives, and are also regular contributors to Choice Literacy and Lead Literacy. They would love to connect and hear your perspective!

Clare Landrigan has been working with her coauthor Tammy Mulligan for the past twenty-three years. They began their work together coteaching an integrated first- and second-grade classroom at the Eliot Pearson Children's School in Medford, Massachusetts.Clare says that at first she chose the position because she needed to finance her graduate degree, but then she "ended up loving it and choosing to become a teacher." Clare says that teaching combined her love of research with an engaging, practical experience in the classroom. "I love that teaching allows me to use both my creative and analytical mind," Clare explains. "Teaching allows me to constantly question, reflect, observe, teach, and revise. I love observing students in the process of learning and thinking about how to engage them.... I love that moment when learning clicks for a student and they believe that they have the power to control their learning. It also doesn't hurt that they keep me laughing all the time!" Clare and Tammy now run a private staff development business, Teachers to Teachers. They work with varied school systems to implement best practices in the field of literacy and to engage in institutional change. They blog regularly at Perspectives, and are also regular contributors to Choice Literacy and Lead Literacy. They would love to connect and hear your perspective!

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