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Improving High-Stakes Decisions via Formative Assessment, Professional Development, and Comprehensive Educator Evaluation: The School System Improvement Project


by Todd A. Glover, Linda A. Reddy, Ryan J. Kettler, Alexander Kunz & Adam J. Lekwa — 2016

The accountability movement and high-stakes testing fail to attend to ongoing instructional improvements based on the regular assessment of student skills and teacher practices. Summative achievement data used for high-stakes accountability decisions are collected too late in the school year to inform instruction. This is especially problematic for students who require early intervention to remediate skill-specific difficulties, such as those identified for special education. The purpose of this article is to describe the School System Improvement Project’s hybrid approach to utilizing both formative and summative assessments to (a) inform decisions about effective instruction based on all students’ and teachers’ needs, and (b) guide high-stakes decisions about teacher effectiveness. Five key components of the SSI Project are outlined, including: (a) the use of formative assessments; (b) data collection from multiple teacher and student measures; (c) an emphasis on instruction and service delivery for all students, including those with disabilities, from minority groups, or from marginalized populations, based on a continuum of need; (d) ongoing teacher and administrator support via a systematic problem-solving process and coaching; and (e) consideration of student growth or progress. The practical implications of this approach are provided along with recommendations for advancing research and policy.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 118 Number 14, 2016, p. 1-26
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21548, Date Accessed: 5/26/2017 1:37:46 AM

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About the Author
  • Todd Glover
    Rutgers University
    E-mail Author
    TODD A. GLOVER is an Associate Research Professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Glover’s research, editor/co-editorship of books, and scholarly writing in journals and chapters focuses on integrating evidence-based interventions and high-quality professional development (including teacher coaching) into systems of support for students in school settings. He has been a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI of multiple projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Linda Reddy
    Rutgers University
    E-mail Author
    LINDA A. REDDY is a Professor in the School Psychology Doctoral Program at Rutgers University. Her research interests and grant-funded projects focus on the assessment and treatment of children with ADHD-related disorders, classroom assessment and teacher professional development, and test development and validation. She has published over 70 papers and book chapters and six books on assessment and interventions for children with special needs. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA).
  • Ryan Kettler
    Rutgers University
    E-mail Author
    RYAN J. KETTLER is an Associate Professor in the School Psychology Program at Rutgers University. His research focuses on methods for identifying and measuring the strengths and weaknesses of students with special needs. His grant-funded research and peer-reviewed publications have examined the effectiveness of alternate assessments, academic and behavioral screening systems, and testing accommodations. He is the editor of the SSSP Research Registry and co-editor of the Handbook of Accessible Achievement Tests for All Students.
  • Alexander Kunz
    Arizona State University
    E-mail Author
    ALEXANDER KURZ is an Assistant Research Professor in the Learning Sciences Institute at Arizona State University. His research and writing focus on providing teachers data-based access to critical aspects of ongoing classroom instruction associated with student achievement. Kurz has published on alignment, accessibility, opportunity-to-learn (OTL), and the assessment of OTL and its implications for professional development. He is the lead author of the Instructional Learning Opportunities Guidance System (MyiLOGS), an OTL measurement tool.
  • Adam Lekwa
    Rutgers University
    E-mail Author
    ADAM J. LEKWA is an Assistant Research Professor in the Graduate School for Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Prior to joining Rutgers, he was a School Psychologist and an Instructional Services Coordinator for two special education cooperatives in Minnesota. Lekwa has authored or co-authored multiple papers, professional reports, and presentations on educational assessment and data-based decision making. His research interests include formative assessment of academic skills and instructional practices and instructional coaching. 
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