Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Data Standards to Support the Formative Assessment Process

Yesterday I had a great meeting with the K-12 stakeholder group directing the development of the Common Education Data Standards.  Version 3 of CEDS (a common vocabulary for P-20 data) will include standard data element definitions to support the formative assessment process.
“Formative assessment is a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve student’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes.”(FAST SCASS, 2008, October)
David Weinberger, one of the group's LEA representatives from Yonkers Public Schools, commented after the meeting,
"I am really excited that we are finding ways to include instructionally relevant information into the data standards in ways that are clearly meaningful and important."

I share in David's excitement. The expansion of the data standards will support scientifically proven processes of assessment for learning, using progress data to inform instructional decisions and student learning activities.

It has been a privilege to work with the  K-12 stakeholders, content specialists Susan M. Brookhart and Margaret Heritage, and others, on refining the process model and identifying supporting data elements.

The process model draft, shown below, is based on case studies of models being used successfully in practices, cognitive science/learning sciences research findings, and engineering/control theory.  

The group is identifying supporting data elements and definitions based on concepts from the Formative Assessment for Students and Teachers (FAST) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) (2008).  Rather than "reinvent the wheel" the work is coordinated with many other initiatives interested in standard definitions for the types of data used to inform teaching and learning.  The group collaborates with initiatives such as the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), Learning Registry (LR), Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA), EdFi, the Mozilla Foundation's Open Badges, and the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC).  We are also working with CCSSO/NGA partners on the components related to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and with organizations supporting the RTTT assessment consortia looking at more granular competencies "unpacked" from the standards to measure learner progress.

The emerging standards for data related to the formative assessment process includes use cases across traditional classroom-based models, blended learning models, and virtual learning models. It will create a  common vocabulary for describing data that most directly supports student learning.