|Reflective Professionals (Agents of Change) plan, instruct, and evaluate student learning using various assessment strategies. The competent use of portfolios, teacher-made tests, and standardized assessments are essential to reflective teaching practices. Reflective Professionals (Agents of Change) also understands the importance of diversity, confidentiality, and other ethical considerations in the use of assessment information in school decision-making.|
Planning for instruction requires extensive reflection often involving synthesis and evaluative thinking (Kindsvatter, et. al., 1988). Teachers must first decide what outcomes are expected, and how these goals will be monitored (Smith, Peterson, & Micceri, 1987). The use of varied forms of assessment to measure the knowledge and skills of students is endorsed (Paris & Ayers, 1994). Portfolio usage is a form of authentic assessment that the faculty believes affords opportunity to measure student growth and development. Since portfolios are cumulative and occur over a period of time, this method can provide a "motion picture" of learning versus the snapshots provided by tests and quizzes (Stiffins, 2001; Ziomek, 1997). In addition, teacher-made-tests also present an opportunity for both formative and summative assessment. When students' mastery of instructional objectives is assessed, information is gained not only about the students but also about appropriateness of instructional objectives and the effectiveness of instructional strategies (Ormrod, 1998).
Other aspects of assessment deemed important by the faculty revolve around proper interpretation, confidentiality, and ethical use of standardized test results, As indicated by Popham (1995; 2002), reflective professionals should certainly; be cognizant of the shortcomings of these instruments and the potential for bias. He defines an instrument with bias as "an instrument in which any of its items either offend or unfairly penalize some students on the basis of their ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status." Bias considerations also include the use of reliable and valid identification of students with special needs, especially involving children of color (Koretz & Hamilton, 2000; Heupert, 2000). The faculty believes that no magic formula exists for assuring accurate assessment of students with special needs: as teachers, we must assume our best professional judgment and realize that standardized tests are imperfect (American Education Research Association, 1999; Lehman, 2000). Of course, the confidentiality of these assessment results is mandated by federal legislation. According to the Family Rights and Privacy Act, it is indeed illegal to share students' test scores, grades, and school records with other students or with the general public (Ormrod, 1998).
- This theme mirrors INTASC Principle 8: The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner. Because assessment is at the heart of all teaching, this theme is critically related to all INTASC Principles.