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.
However, both formative and performance assessment go to the heart of where learning and teaching happen. Effective implementation of these can improve teaching practice and engage and motivate students to take ownership of their own learning; furthermore, it can enhance students’ higher-order cognitive and non-cognitive skills, better preparing them for success in the 21st century. Curriculum-embedded performance assessments or CEPAs are classroom-based instructional units that provide multiple opportunities for learning and both formative and summative evidence-gathering. A two-component accountability assessment system – CEPAs and an abbreviated end-of-year summative assessment component – can positively impact instruction and satisfy ESSA assessment requirements.
“Re-Balancing Assessment: Placing Formative and Performance Assessment at the Heart of Learning and Accountability,” by Hofman, Goodwin, and Kahl.6 Re-balancing Assessment