This memo, which is the fifth in the series, highlights the ongoing work of the Leadership Public Schools (LPS) Network—a network of three high schools in Northern California serving about 1,500 students with 98% identifying as people of color and 80% qualifying for free and reduced lunch. LPS, driven by their belief that students are serious and capable learners, thinkers, and doers, worked to disrupt inequities by developing and refining student peer feedback practices. This memo describes what LPS discovered about creating the conditions in which peer-to-peer feedback motivates and educates each learner.
As LPS deepened its understanding of what teachers needed to do to create a sense of belonging for each student, the Network’s assessment practices evolved and became increasingly equity-oriented. LPS realized that generating high-quality feedback and enabling students to use that feedback was not merely a matter of giving students greater agency and voice in the assessment process. LPS educators also noticed that a student’s capacity to meaningfully engage with feedback was influenced by a constellation of factors, such as the student’s sense of self-worth, purpose, and confidence; feelings of connection to the school; perceived social status; and relationship to the subject matter and teacher.
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.