This memo, which is the fourth in the series, describes how 11 Virginia school divisions have come together to form Virginia's Student-Led Assessment Networked Improvement Community. This Networked Improvement Community (NIC) is focused on increasing the use of student-led assessment practices, including capstone projects, to increase students’ agency and ownership of their learning and assessment experiences.
The work of this NIC is supported by local- and state-level efforts to reimagine assessment in ways that shift the balance from a heavy focus on standardized assessments to one that prioritizes student-centered learning. The NIC’s use of improvement science practices encouraged shared goal setting, progress monitoring, and iterative cycles that supported learning and refinement of the group’s ideas for improving student-centered learning. This collective effort to reimagine assessment fostered sustained improvements in the midst of leadership churn.
The Assessment for Learning Project (ALP) is a multi-year grant program and field-building initiative designed to fundamentally rethink the roles that assessment can and should play to advance student learning and improve K-12 education in the United States. If assessment is to become a lever for improving individual students’ opportunities and capacities to learn, then assessment must also become a lever for achieving more equitable education outcomes because it is not possible to achieve excellence without equity.
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.