Assessment Literacy Standards for Policymakers

Assessment Literacy Standards graphic - highlight Local and State PolicymakersAssessment Literacy Standards – Policymakers

I. Dispositions

Policymakers who are assessment literate believe:

A. Teacher and administrator certification standards should include competence in assessment as a criterion for licensing.

B. A balanced assessment system is essential at the local school district level (using summative and interim assessments, as well as, formative assessment practices).

C. Assessments closer to the classroom usually have a greater impact  on improving student achievement.

D. Teachers and administrators need formal training in the development and use of assessments to increase student success.

E. Important decisions about schools, educators or students should be made on the basis of accurate and multiple sources of data.

II. Knowledge

Policymakers who are assessment literate know:

A. A balanced assessment system consists of both of the following:

     1. Different users have different assessment purposes

     2. Different assessment purposes may require different assessment methods

B. There are different purposes for student assessment:

     1. Student improvement

     2. Instructional program improvement

     3. Student, teacher or system accountability

     4. Program evaluation

     5. Prediction of future performance/achievement

C. The differences between the types of assessments in a balanced system of assessment:        

     1. Summative Assessments

     2. Interim Benchmark Assessments

     3. Formative Assessment

D. There are different ways to measure student achievement; each has advantages and challenges. 

E. There are two ways to report results, and specific circumstances when each is useful:

     1. Norm-referenced interpretations

     2. Criterion-referenced interpretations

F. There are several essential technical standards for high quality assessments:

     1. Reliability—Do the assessments produce replicable scores?

     2. Validity—Is there evidence that supports the intended uses of the assessment?

G. Assessments can be purchased or developed locally; each approach has advantages and challenges.

H. There are a number of steps in the assessment development process to produce high quality assessments.

I. There is little evidence to suggest that local, state, national and international summative assessments, in themselves, improve education or student learning.

J. Users of assessments require time to learn to administer assessments and use the results appropriately, and resources may be needed to carry out these activities.

K. Which student measures are appropriate for teacher  and administrator evaluation.

III. Performance

Policymakers who are assessment literate:

A. Provide the necessary authorization and resources (time, money and staff) to create and implement quality balanced assessment systems.

B. Ensure that only high-quality assessment will be selected/developed and used.

C. Strive to learn more about how assessment can be used to improve student achievement.

D. Support activities to improve their assessment literacy and that of their staff.

Policymakers Audiences


  • Local Board of Education
  • Local School Superintendents


  • State Board of Education
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Legislature
    1. House Education Committee
    2. Senate Education Committee
    3. Legislative Staff
    4. House and Senate Fiscal Agencies
  • Governor
    1. Governor's Education Staff
  • Department of Management and Budget