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Systems for State Science Assessment
to understand how learning in the subject area develops over time, so that they can assess initial understandings before moving to more complex ideas. Perhaps most important, teachers whose knowledge is incomplete or inaccurate may reinforce, through assessment, incorrect conceptions held by their students.
It is probably unrealistic to assume that in-service professional development opportunities, which schools and districts use for many different purposes, will provide teachers with the skills they need to use and understand assessment effectively. Assessment competence, like competence in any discipline, requires sustained effort and focused instruction accompanied by practice and feedback. The committee therefore calls on colleges and universities that prepare teachers to include in their curricula for teacher education courses on educational measurement that are both general and specific to science. Because the course requirements for teacher preparation programs are largely set by state licensure requirements, the most effective way to encourage these programs to include educational measurement courses is for states to include in their standards for certification and recertification a provision that teachers demonstrate assessment competence as a condition for teacher licensure. Much work is needed to make this a reality. Stiggins (1999) found that only 25 states require assessment competence as a criterion for licensure, and Trevisan (2002) found that only 18 states had any requirements related to assessment literacy for school administrators.
Trevisan points out that, in 1990, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Council on Measurement in Education, and the National Education Association issued Standards for Teacher Competence in Educational Assessment of Students. Box 6-2 contains the seven standards these organizations developed for teacher assessment literacy. He calls on states to consider some of these national standards in revising their own licensure requirements. He highlights the work of the state of Washington, which requires all teachers in the state to meet national standards in each field; specifically, teachers are required to meet requirements of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), which include indicators for assessment literacy.
Education administrators at all levels of the system require assessment competence for (1) assisting teachers in creating and using assessment effectively; (2) providing leadership in the creation and implementation of building- or district-level assessment policies; and (3) using assessment results in their capacity as administrators in making decisions about students, teachers, and instruction; and (4) reporting on assessment results to a variety of stakeholders and constituencies. Box 6-3 includes standards for assessment competency for education administrators that were developed through the collaborative efforts of a number of organizations representing school administrators and the educational measurement community.4
In 1990, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Council on Measurement in Education, and the National Education Association published the Standards for Teacher Competence on