developers who will include assessment in their work with prospective and practicing teachers; and

  • address issues that school and district decision makers face in their efforts to improve classroom assessment

In response to this charge, this document is organized around six chapters:

  • Chapter 1, An Introduction to Assessment in the Science Classroom, broadly outlines the rationale for the content covered in the guide. This chapter also lays the groundwork for serious attention to the types of assessment teachers and their students perform daily and their direct effect on improving learning.

  • Chapter 2, The Case for Strengthening Assessment in the Science Classroom, provides a research base for the importance of understanding and improving the type of assessment in the classroom that improves learning and pays particular attention to the notion of formative assessment. Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 may be especially useful for classroom teachers as a guide for examining their practice.

  • Chapter 3, Assessment in the Classroom, takes a closer look at the roles and responsibilities of teachers and students in improving assessment and offers a guiding framework for thinking about formative assessment. Chapter 3 and Chapter 5 relate directly to responsibilities of people in policy positions at school district, state, and national levels and, in particular, those who make decisions about the spectrum of assessment tools to be employed for accountability, for certifying student accomplishment, and for the improvement of teaching and learning.

  • Chapter 4, The Relationship between Formative and Summative Assessment—In the Classroom and Beyond, addresses the tensions inherent in the different purposes and roles that teachers play in assessment and offers suggestions for how these tensions can be mitigated. In addition to teachers and administrators, professional-development specialists and teacher educators may want to focus on this chapter.

  • Chapter 5, Professional Development, considers and illustrates the potential richness of the professional development of teachers when assessment is the cornerstone and suggests some features to consider when designing professional-development experiences.

  • Chapter 6, Beyond the Classroom—System-Level Supports, proposes how programs and systems can support teachers and students in improving the classroom assessments to develop learning. Parents and community members also may be interested in this discussion about the broader system level.

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