RMC Welcomes Dr. Stuart Kahl

Dr. Stuart Kahl

To better address the needs of educators across our states, RMC has initiated a blog series that will focus on assessment. Although assessment is a critical activity at all levels — from statewide testing to classroom testing by teachers – schools of education cannot possibly cover the full domain of assessment literacy in their pre-service and in-service programs. There are many topics they just can’t squeeze into their curricula. How can our states design better and more innovative large-scale assessments given their budgetary and manpower limitations? What are the issues associated with using interim and local assessments for accountability? How can performance assessments be made technically sound and time- and cost-efficient? How should the components of a balanced assessment system be related? How can local educators deal with the problem of over testing? How can grading practices impact learning positively and negatively?

It is RMC’s hope that this blog site will be a popular vehicle for getting assessment-related questions answered and answered quickly. Dr. Stuart Kahl plans on posting a new post on an important topic in state or local testing periodically, with the intent that it will stimulate ongoing discussion. Questions, comments, and war stories are all welcome. Visitors to this site have a unique opportunity to benefit from Dr. Kahl’s expertise and many years of experience in testing.

As cofounder of Advanced Systems in Measurement and Evaluation, Inc. and founder and former CEO of the organization it later became, Measured Progress, Inc., Stuart Kahl has over 40 years of experience in educational assessment. He has worked at one time or another in most states. With a background in both measurement and curriculum/instruction (he was an elementary and secondary school teacher and his doctoral major was in curriculum and instruction), he has written, spoken, trained, and advised frequently on formative assessment, balanced assessment systems, test design/development/quality, curriculum-embedded performance assessment, classroom testing, teacher assessment literacy, and many other related topics. He recently retired from Measured Progress, but his passion for effective student testing would not allow him to retire completely from the field. We are pleased to offer Dr. Kahl as a resource for education policy makers and educators at all levels.

Browse our Assessment Resources

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For purposes of comparability and reporting, scaled scores must be computed that reflect student performance on commercial tests and state accountability tests. However, concerns about scaled scores not providing information about what students know and can do have been addressed by the use of performance level reporting. Based their scores, students are put into categories...
“Balance” in a district assessment system means more than just using formative, interim, and summative assessment. It also means giving these components appropriate attention and doing them and using them well. And doing them well can pertain to coverage of curriculum standards and to balance of attention to foundational knowledge/skills and deeper learning, as well...
Despite increased interest in instructional and assessment innovation, change has been difficult for many local educators because many well-intended initiatives have placed added burdens on them – additional requirements in terms of time and effort. One goal of educational reform is to change the way some teachers and students spend their time – to get...
School reform efforts intended to raise achievement levels of US students are not new. Recent initiatives mandating student academic growth and punishing educators whose students collectively have not demonstrated adequate yearly progress have not worked. They have not led to improved instructional practice and student motivation to learn, which are so critical to student learning....
Effective implementation of the multi-step instructional process of formative assessment shifts the focus of students to their own learning by making them more responsible for it and by using grading practices that encourage learning rather than inhibiting it. Administrators have important roles to play by supporting professional development in formative assessment, by improving school grading...
In the name of flexibility and innovation, ESSA allows the use of interim assessments, the results of which would be aggregated for purposes of ESSA accountability. However, there are good arguments for why both general achievement measures used multiple times during the school year and benchmark tests covering recently taught material would be poor choices...
Ten dimensions of formative assessment practice are described. For each dimension, a rubric is provided for use in observation and self reflection with the goal of improving instructional practice. The ten dimensions are: I. Learning goals II. Criteria for Success III. Tasks and Activities that Elicit Evidence of Student Learning IV. Questioning Strategies that Elicit...
Local educators, parents, and others generally want more information on student performance from their state assessments than those programs give them. This is not surprising given the high stakes now associated with state assessment results. Furthermore, current and previous federal laws have required that reports of individual student test performance be diagnostic. For several reasons,...
For purposes of comparability and reporting, scaled scores must be computed that reflect student performance on commercial tests and state accountability tests. However, concerns about scaled scores not providing information about what students know and can do have been addressed by the use of performance level reporting. Based their scores, students are put into categories...
Computer-Adaptive Testing (CAT) was first created to generate a total test scaled score (or estimate of ability) as efficiently as possible – that is, with as few items as possible administered in a very short time. Each item selected to be administered to a test taker is selected by the computer based on the test...
A student’s test score is only meaningful in relation to something else – 1) information on the performance of a particular group of students, 2) some pre-established standard of performance, 3) a test score reflecting previous performance of the student, or 4) a prediction of performance based on previous testing. The last two of these,...
“I promise to replace our current accountability assessment with a single, summative, formative, adaptive, diagnostic general achievement test that measures growth and yields immediate results that teachers can use right away to modify their instruction.” Over a period of four decades, the stakes associated with state assessment results have increased dramatically. At the same time,...
It’s fitting that an early post in this blog is a piece on “balanced assessment systems” because it’s an all encompassing concept relative to the assessments experienced by students. We can zero in on specifics throughout the year. The term has become a widely used one, yet when folks are asked to define it, the...

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