A level playing field creates student success and actionable data for educators. And it all starts with an assessment equity strategy.
1: Develop each assessment item with equity in mind.
As you craft assessment items to match educational standards, review every item to ensure:
- All groups of students have had equal opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills
- No student is either advantaged or disadvantaged by the content because of unrelated
background knowledge or experience.
Review items for language and format. Be sure items do not perpetuate any stereotype about a particular group, such as race, gender, or national origin. Ensuring cultural, gender, and racial equity should be baked in to any assessment development process.
Many students, especially in a learn-from-home environment, do not have equitable access to the broadband connection required for online exams. Define a plan to test these students fairly, using the same assessments used online. Ask yourself:
- Does your assessment solution enable you to deliver the same test online and on paper?
- Are the results saved to a single data source so you can easily see how students performed, regardless of how they took the test?
- For adaptive tests, does your assessment solution partner provide a secure, offline option that does not compromise the integrity of the test by downloading items locally?
You may not be able to provide broadband digital access to all students, but the right partner can help you deliver tests equitably, no matter where students are learning.
3: Use assessment results to drive instructional equity.
You’ve written the test. You’ve administered the test. You have the test results. Now it’s time to analyze those results to help you inform your instruction. Driving instructional equity requires detailed assessment results that provide a clear picture of each student’s achievement. In the classroom, you can use those results to create group or individual learning plans that close achievement gaps, support struggling students, and challenge advanced students:
- Identify areas where the majority of your class struggled and create time in your educational calendar to reteach these lessons as a whole group to ensure greater understanding for your students.
- If you have students who have already mastered the skill, plan for them to work on an additional enrichment project to take the skill’s concept a step farther with some independent learning.
- Consider creating differentiated groups within your classroom based on needs. Have smaller groups of students rotate through Direct Instruction, Collaborative Learning, and Independent Learning stations.
- Consider sharing this data with your students. Show them their current performance, where their growth potential exists, and empower them to take charge of their own education. They may be more invested in their own learning, and it is always rewarding to see growth.
A successful equity strategy contains multiple ways to address student needs. Make sure your assessments support this broader strategy with instructional plans.