The TEAM committee realized that the work of creating more than 15 assessment models required them to form a good assessment community. This meant that the entire group needed to review what makes assessment useful, fair, ongoing, and helpful to theatre education directors. A good theatre assessment community should discuss the most important goals of the theatre, often expressed in the mission or vision statements. The education department’s goals for curriculum must then connect and align with the theatre’s mission, as should the marketing department’s goals for post-show audience surveys.
The Primary Purpose of Assessment is to Improve Learning
The TEAM working group therefore recommends that a good assessment community be formed around this work in your theatre in order to agree that the primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning. Some principles for forming a good assessment community include:
1. The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning.
2. Assessment for other purposes supports student learning.
3. Assessment systems are fair to all students.
4. Professional collaboration and development support assessment.
5. The broad community participates in assessment development.
6. Communication about assessment is regular and clear.
7. Assessment systems are regularly reviewed and improved.
(Neill, National Assessment Forum, 2006).
Assessment Community GOAL:
“Imagine an assessment system in which teachers had a wide repertoire of classroom-based, culturally sensitive assessment practices and tools to use in helping each and every child learn to high standards; in which educators collaboratively used assessment information to continuously improve schools; in which important decisions about a student, such as readiness to graduate from high school, were based on the work done over the years by the student; in which schools in networks held one another accountable for student learning; and in which public evidence of student achievement consisted primarily of samples from students’ actual schoolwork rather than just reports of results from one-shot examinations” (Monty Neill who is associate director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest) and co-chair of the National Forum on Assessment, Cambridge, Mass., 2006).
Defining the Academic Standards
K-12 schools are under intense pressure to reform their practices and improve their outcomes.
“In K-12 schools, standards serve as rigorous goals for teaching and learning. Setting high standards enables students, parents, educators, and citizens to know what students should have learned at a given point in time. The absence of standards has consequences similar to lack of goals in any pursuit. Without clear goals, students may be unmotivated and confused. Clear statements about what students must know and be able to do are essential to ensure that our schools offer students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success” (From Nilolay, P., Grady, S., Stefonek, T. (2000). “Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Theatre.” Madison, WI: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction).
What Are Academic Standards?
Academic standards specify what students should know and be able to do, what they might be asked to do to give evidence of standards, and how well they must perform. They include content, performance, and proficiency standards.
- Content standards refer to what students should know and be able to do.
- Performance standards tell how students will show that they are meeting a standard.
- Proficiency standards indicate how well students must perform” (From Nilolay, P., Grady, S., Stefonek, T. (2000). “Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Theatre.” Madison, WI: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction).
For more information about assessment communities and their systems, please visit FairTest’s website. Back to Top